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I 


Presented  to  the 

LIBRARY  of  the 

UNIVERSITY  OF  TORONTO 

by 

MICHAEL  MILLGATE 


THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 


THIS 
SIDE  OF  PARADISE 


By 

F.  SCOTT  FITZGERALD 

AUTHOR  OF  "FLAPPERS  AND  PHILOSOPHERS" 


.  .  .  Well  this  side  of  Paradise!  .  .  . 
There's  little  comfort  in  the  wise. 

— Rupert  Brooke. 

Experience  is  the  name  so  many  people 
give  to  their  mistakes.  _Oscaf 


NEW  YORK 

CHARLES  SCRIBNER'S  SONS 
1921 


COPTBIGHT,  1920,  BT 

CHARLES  SCRIBNEB'S  SONS 


Published  April.  1920 
Reprinted  twice  in  April,  1920 

Reprinted  May.  June,  July,  August,  September,  1920 
October,  1920;  February,  1921 


TO 
SIGOURNEY  FAY 


CONTENTS 
BOOK  ONE:  THE  ROMANTIC  EGOTIST 

CHAPTER  PAGE 

I.    AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE 3 

H.    SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES 41 

HE.    THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS 99 

IV.    NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY 131 

[INTERLUDE:   MAY,  1917 — FEBRUARY,  1919.] 
BOOK  TWO:   THE  EDUCATION  OF  A  PERSONAGE 

CHAPTER  PACK 

I.    THE  DEBUTANTE 179 

n.    EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE 212 

HI.    YOUNG  IRONY 238 

IV.    THE  SUPERCILIOUS  SACRIFICE 261 

V.    THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE    ....  273 


BOOK  ONE 
THE  ROMANTIC  EGOTIST 


CHAPTER   I 
AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE 

AMORY  ELAINE  inherited  from  his  mother  every  trait, 
except  the  stray  inexpressible  few,  that  made  him  worth 
while.  His  father,  an  ineffectual,  inarticulate  man  with 
a  taste  for  Byron  and  a  habit  of  drowsing  over  the 
Encyclopedia,  Britannica,  grew  wealthy  at  thirty  through 
the  death  of  two  elder  brothers,  successful  Chicago 
brokers,  and  in  the  first  flush  of  feeling  that  the  world 
was  his,  went  to  Bar  Harbor  and  met  Beatrice  O'Hara. 
In  consequence,  Stephen  Blaine  handed  down  to  pos- 
terity his  height  of  just  under  six  feet  and  his  tendency 
to  waver  at  crucial  moments,  these  two  abstractions 
appearing  in  his  son  Amory.  For  many  years  he  hov- 
ered in  the  background  of  his  family's  life,  an  unasser- 
tive figure  with  a  face  half-obliterated  by  lifeless,  silky 
hair,  continually  occupied  in  "taking  care"  of  his  wife, 
continually  harassed  by  the  idea  that  he  didn't  and 
couldn't  understand  her. 

But  Beatrice  Blaine!  There  was  a  woman!  Early 
pictures  taken  on  her  father's  estate  at  Lake  Geneva, 
Wisconsin,  or  in  Rome  at  the  Sacred  Heart  Convent — 
an  educational  extravagance  that  in  her  youth  was  only 
for  the  daughters  of  the  exceptionally  wealthy — showed 
the  exquisite  delicacy  of  her  features,  the  consummate 
art  and  simplicity  of  her  clothes.  A  brilliant  education 
she  had — her  youth  passed  in  renaissance  glory,  she 
was  versed  in  the  latest  gossip  of  the  Older  Roman 
Families;  known  by  name  as  a  fabulously  wealthy  Amer- 

3 


4  THIS   SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ican  girl  to  Cardinal  Vitori  and  Queen  Margherita  and 
more  subtle  celebrities  that  one  must  have  had  some 
culture  even  to  have  heard  of.  She  learned  in  England 
to  prefer  whiskey  and  soda  to  wine,  and  her  small  talk 
was  broadened  in  two  senses  during  a  winter  in  Vienna. 
All  in  all  Beatrice  O'Hara  absorbed  the  sort  of  educa- 
tion that  will  be  quite  impossible  ever  again;  a  tutelage 
measured  by  the  number  of  things  and  people  one  could 
be  contemptuous  of  and  charming  about;  a  culture  rich 
in  all  arts  and  traditions,  barren  of  all  ideas,  in  the  last 
of  those  days  when  the  great  gardener  clipped  the  in- 
ferior roses  to  produce  one  perfect  bud. 

In  her  less  important  moments  she  returned  to  Amer- 
ica, met  Stephen  Elaine  and  married  him — this  almost 
entirely  because  she  was  a  little  bit  weary,  a  little  bit 
sad.  Her  only  child  was  carried  through  a  tiresome 
season  and  brought  into  the  world  on  a  spring  day  in 
ninety-six. 

When  Amory  was  five  he  was  already  a  delightful 
companion  for  her.  He  was  an  auburn-haired  boy,  with 
great,  handsome  eyes  which  he  would  grow  up  to  in 
time,  a  facile  imaginative  mind  and  a  taste  for  fancy 
dress.  From  his  fourth  to  his  tenth  year  he  did  the 
country  with  his  mother  in  her  father's  private  car,  from 
Coronado,  where  his  mother  became  so  bored  that  she 
had  a  nervous  breakdown  in  a  fashionable  hotel,  down 
to  Mexico  City,  where  she  took  a  mild,  almost  epidemic 
consumption.  This  trouble  pleased  her,  and  later  she 
made  use  of  it  as  an  intrinsic  part  of  her  atmosphere — 
especially  after  several  astounding  bracers. 

So,  while  more  or  less  fortunate  little  rich  boys  were 
defying  governesses  on  the  beach  at  Newport,  or  being 
spanked  or  tutored  or  read  to  from  "Do  and  Dare,"  or 
"Frank  on  the  Mississippi,"  Amory  was  biting  acqui- 
escent bell-boys  in  the  Waldorf,  outgrowing  a  natural 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  5 

repugnance  to  chamber  music  and  symphonies,  and 
deriving  a  highly  specialized  education  from  his  mother. 

"Amory." 

"Yes,  Beatrice."  (Such  a  quaint  name  for  his  mother; 
she  encouraged  it.) 

"Dear,  don't  think  of  getting  out  of  bed  yet.  I've 
always  suspected  that  early  rising  in  early  life  makes 
one  nervous.  Clothilde  is  having  your  breakfast  brought 
up." 

"All  right." 

"I  am  feeling  very  old  to-day,  Amory,"  she  would 
sigh,  her  face  a  rare  cameo  of  pathos,  her  voice  exquis- 
itely modulated,  her  hands  as  facile  as  Bernhardt's. 
"My  nerves  are  on  edge — on  edge.  We  must  leave  this 
terrifying  place  to-morrow  and  go  searching  for  sun- 
shine." 

Amory's  penetrating  green  eyes  would  look  out 
through  tangled  hair  at  his  mother.  Even  at  this  age 
he  had  no  illusions  about  her. 

"Amory." 

"Oh,  yes." 

"I  want  you  to  take  a  red-hot  bath — as  hot  as  you 
can  bear  it,  and  just  relax  your  nerves.  You  can  read 
in  the  tub  if  you  wish." 

She  fed  him  sections  of  the  "F£tes  Galantes"  before 
he, was  ten;  at  eleven  he  could  talk  glibly,  if  rather 
reminiscently,  of  Brahms  and  Mozart  and  Beethoven. 
One  afternoon,  when  left  alone  in  the  hotel  at  Hot 
Springs,  he  sampled  his  mother's  apricot  cordial,  and  as 
the  taste  pleased  him,  he  became  quite  tipsy.  This  was 
fun  for  a  while,  but  he  essayed  a  cigarette  in  his  exalta- 
tion, and  succumbed  to  a  vulgar,  plebeian  reaction. 
Though  this  incident  horrified  Beatrice,  it  also  secretly 
amused  her  and  became  part  of  what  in  a  later  genera- 
tion would  have  been  termed  her  "line." 


6  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"This  son  of  mine,"  he  heard  her  tell  a  room  full  of 
awe-struck,  admiring  women  one  day,  "is  entirely  sophis- 
ticated and  quite  charming — but  delicate — we're  all 
delicate;  here,  you  know."  Her  hand  was  radiantly 
outlined  against  her  beautiful  bosom;  then  sinking  her 
voice  to  a  whisper,  she  told  them  of  the  apricot  cordiaL 
They  rejoiced,  for  she  was  a  brave  raconteuse,  but  many 
were  the  keys  turned  in  sideboard  locks  that  night 
against  the  possible  defection  of  little  Bobby  or  Bar- 
bara. .  .  . 

These  domestic  pilgrimages  were  invariably  in  state; 
two  maids,  the  private  car,  or  Mr.  Blaine  when  available, 
and  very  often  a  physician.  When  Amory  had  the 
whooping-cough  four  disgusted  specialists  glared  at  each 
other  hunched  around  his  bed;  when  he  took  scarlet 
fever  the  number  of  attendants,  including  physicians 
and  nurses,  totalled  fourteen.  However,  blood  being 
thicker  than  broth,  he  was  pulled  through. 

The  Blaines  were  attached  to  no  city.  They  were  the 
Blaines  of  Lake  Geneva;  they  had  quite  enough  rela- 
tives to  serve  in  place  of  friends,  and  an  enviable  stand- 
ing from  Pasadena  to  Cape  Cod.  But  Beatrice  grew 
more  and  more  prone  to  like  only  new  acquaintances,  as 
there  were  certain  stories,  such  as  the  history  of  her 
constitution  and  its  many  amendments,  memories  of 
her  years  abroad,  that  it  was  necessary  for  her  to  repeat 
at  regular  intervals.  Like  Freudian  dreams,  they  must 
be  thrown  off,  else  they  would  sweep  in  and  lay  siege 
to  her  nerves.  But  Beatrice  was  critical  about  American 
women,  especially  the  floating  population  of  ex- West- 
erners. 

"They  have  accents,  my  dear,"  she  told  Amory,  "not 
Southern  accents  or  Boston  accents,  not  an  accent 
attached  to  any  locality,  just  an  accent" — she  became 
dreamy.  "They  pick  up  old,  moth-eaten  London  ac- 


cents  that  are  down  on  their  luck  and  have  to  be  used 
by  some  one.  They  talk  as  an  English  butler  might 
after  several  years  in  a  Chicago  grand-opera  company." 
She  became  almost  incoherent —  "Suppose — time  in 
every  Western  woman's  life — she  feels  her  husband  is 
prosperous  enough  for  her  to  have — accent — they  try  to 
impress  me,  my  dear " 

Though  she  thought  of  her  body  as  a  mass  of  frailties, 
she  considered  her  soul  quite  as  ill,  and  therefore  im- 
portant in  her  life.  She  had  once  been  a  Catholic,  but 
discovering  that  priests  were  infinitely  more  attentive 
when  she  was  in  process  of  losing  or  regaining  faith  in 
Mother  Church,  she  maintained  an  enchantingly  waver- 
ing attitude.  Often  she  deplored  the  bourgeois  quality 
of  the  American  Catholic  clergy,  and  was  quite  sure 
that  had  she  lived  in  the  shadow  of  the  great  Continental 
cathedrals  her  soul  would  still  be  a  thin  flame  on  the 
mighty  altar  of  Rome.  Still,  next  to  doctors,  priests 
were  her  favorite  sport. 

"Ah,  Bishop  Wiston,"  she  would  declare,  "I  do  not 
want  to  talk  of  myself.  I  can  imagine  the  stream  of 
hysterical  women  fluttering  at  your  doors,  beseeching 
you  to  be  sunpatico" — then  after  an  interlude  filled  by 
the  clergyman — "but  my  mood — is — oddly  dissimilar." 

Only  to  bishops  and  above  did  she  divulge  her  clerical 
romance.  When  she  had  first  returned  to  her  country 
there  had  been  a  pagan,  Swinburnian  young  man  in 
Ashville,  for  whose  passionate  kisses  and  unsentimental 
conversations  she  had  taken  a  decided  penchant — they 
had  discussed  the  matter  pro  and  con  with  an  intellec- 
tual romancing  quite  devoid  of  soppiness.  Eventually 
she  had  decided  to  marry  for  background,  and  the 
young  pagan  from  Asheville  had  gone  through  a  spiritual 
crisis,  joined  the  Catholic  Church,  and  was  now — Mon- 
signor  Darcy. 


8  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Indeed,  Mrs.  Elaine,  he  is  still  delightful  company — 
quite  the  cardinal's  right-hand  man." 

"Amory  will  go  to  him  one  day,  I  know,"  breathed 
the  beautiful  lady,  "and  Monsignor  Darcy  will  under- 
stand him  as  he  understood  me." 

Amory  became  thirteen,  rather  tall  and  slender,  and 
more  than  ever  on  to  his  Celtic  mother.  He  had  tutored 
occasionally — the  idea  being  that  he  was  to  "keep  up," 
at  each  place  "taking  up  the  work  where  he  left  off," 
yet  as  no  tutor  ever  found  the  place  he  left  off,  his  mind 
was  still  in  very  good  shape.  What  a  few  more  years 
of  this  life  would  have  made  of  him  is  problematical. 
However,  four  hours  out  from  land,  Italy  bound,  with 
Beatrice,  his  appendix  burst,  probably  from  too  many 
meals  in  bed,  and  after  a  series  of  frantic  telegrams  to 
Europe  and  America,  to  the  amazement  of  the  passen- 
gers the  great  ship  slowly  wheeled  around  and  returned 
to  New  York  to  deposit  Amory  at  the  pier.  You  will 
admit  that  if  it  was  not  life  it  was  magnificent 

After  the  operation  Beatrice  had  a  nervous  breakdown 
that  bore  a  suspicious  resemblance  to  delirium  tremens, 
and  Amory  was  left  in  Minneapolis,  destined  to  spend 
the  ensuing  two  years  with  his  aunt  and  uncle.  There 
the  crude,  vulgar  air  of  Western  civilization  first  catches 
him — in  his  underwear,  so  to  speak. 

A  Kiss  FOR  AMORY 
His  lip  curled  when  he  read  it. 

"/  am  going  to  have  a  bobbing  party"  it  said,  "on  Thursday, 
December  the  seventeenth,  at  five  o'clock,  and  I  would  like  it  very 
much  if  you  could  come. 

Yours  truly, 
R.S.V.P.  Myra  St.  Claire." 

He  had  been  two  months  in  Minneapolis,  and  his 
chief  struggle  had  been  the  concealing  from  "the  other 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  9 

guys  at  school"  how  particularly  superior  he  felt  him- 
self to  be,  yet  this  conviction  was  built  upon  shifting 
sands.  He  had  shown  off  one  day  in  French  class  (he 
was  in  senior  French  class)  to  the  utter  confusion  of 
Mr.  Reardon,  whose  accent  Amory  damned  contemp- 
tuously, and  to  the  delight  of  the  class.  Mr.  Reardon, 
who  had  spent  several  weeks  in  Paris  ten  years  before, 
took  his  revenge  on  the  verbs,  whenever  he  had  his  book 
open.  But  another  time  Amory  showed  off  in  history 
class,  with  quite  disastrous  results,  for  the  boys  there 
were  his  own  age,  and  they  shrilled  innuendoes  at  each 
other  all  the  following  week: 

"Aw — I  b'lieve,  doncherknow,  the  Umuricun  revolu- 
tion was  laivgdy  an  affair  of  the  middul  dowses"  or 

"Washington  came  of  very  good  blood — aw,  quite 
good — I  b'lieve." 

Amory  ingeniously  tried  to  retrieve  himself  by  blun- 
dering on  purpose.  Two  years  before  he  had  commenced 
a  history  of  the  United  States  which,  though  it  only  got 
as  far  as  the  Colonial  Wars,  had  been  pronounced  by 
his  mother  completely  enchanting. 

His  chief  disadvantage  lay  in  athletics,  but  as  soon 
as  he  discovered  that  it  was  the  touchstone  of  power 
and  popularity  at  school,  he  began  to  make  furious,  per- 
sistent efforts  to  excel  in  the  winter  sports,  and  with  his 
ankles  aching  and  bending  in  spite  of  his  efforts,  he 
skated  valiantly  around  the  Lorelie  rink  every  after- 
noon, wondering  how  soon  he  would  be  able  to  carry  a 
hockey-stick  without  getting  it  inexplicably  tangled  in 
his  skates. 

The  invitation  to  Miss  Myra  St  Claire's  bobbing 
party  spent  the  morning  in  his  coat  pocket,  where  it 
had  an  intense  physical  affair  with  a  dusty  piece  of 
peanut  brittle.  During  the  afternoon  he  brought  it  to 
light  with  a  sigh,  and  after  some  consideration  and  a 


io  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

preliminary  draft  in  the  back  of  Collar  and  Daniel's 
"First-  Year  Latin,"  composed  an  answer: 

My  dear  Miss  Si,  Claire: 

Your  truly  charming  envitation  for  the  evening  of  next  Thursday 
evening  was  truly  delightful  to  recieve  this  morning.  I  will  be 
charm  end  inchanted  indeed  to  present  my  compliments  on  next 

Thursday  evening.  _,  .    ,  „ 

Faithfully,  Amory 


On  Thursday,  therefore,  he  walked  pensively  along 
the  slippery,  shovel-scraped  sidewalks,  and  came  in 
sight  of  Myra's  house,  on  the  half-hour  after  five,  a  late- 
ness which  he  fancied  his  mother  would  have  favored. 
He  waited  on  the  door-step  with  his  eyes  nonchalantly 
half-closed,  and  planned  his  entrance  with  precision. 
He  would  cross  the  floor,  not  too  hastily,  to  Mrs.  St. 
Claire,  and  say  with  exactly  the  correct  modulation: 

"My  dear  Mrs.  St.  Claire,  I'm  frightfully  sorry  to  be 
late,  but  my  maid"  —  he  paused  there  and  realized  he 
would  be  quoting  —  "but  my  uncle  and  I  had  to  see  a 
iella  —  Yes,  I've  met  your  enchanting  daughter  at 
dancing-school." 

Then  he  would  shake  hands,  using  that  slight,  half- 
foreign  bow,  with  all  the  starchy  little  females,  and  nod 
to  the  fellas  who  would  be  standing  'round,  paralyzed 
into  rigid  groups  for  mutual  protection. 

A  butler  (one  of  the  three  in  Minneapolis)  swung  open 
the  door.  Amory  stepped  inside  and  divested  himself 
of  cap  and  coat  He  was  mildly  surprised  not  to  hear 
the  shrill  squawk  of  conversation  from  the  next  room, 
and  he  decided  it  must  be  quite  formal.  He  approved 
of  that  —  as  he  approved  of  the  butler. 

"Miss  Myra,"  he  said. 

To  his  surprise  the  butler  grinned  horribly. 

"Oh,  yeah,"  he  declared,  "she's  here."    He  was  un- 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  n 

aware  that  his  failure  to  be  cockney  was  ruining  his 
standing.  Amory  considered  him  coldly. 

"But,"  continued  the  butler,  his  voice  rising  unnec- 
essarily, "she's  the  only  one  what  is  here.  The  party's 
gone." 

Amory  gasped  in  sudden  horror. 

"What?" 

"She's  been  waitin'  for  Amory  Elaine.  That's  you, 
ain't  it?  Her  mother  says  that  if  you  showed  up  by 
five- thirty  you  two  was  to  go  after  'em  in  the  Packard." 

Amory's  despair  was  crystallized  by  the  appearance  of 
Myra  herself,  bundled  to  the  ears  in  a  polo  coat,  her 
face  plainly  sulky,  her  voice  pleasant  Tonly  with  diffi- 
culty. 

"'Lo,  Amory." 

"'Lo,  Myra."  He  had  described  the  state  of  his 
vitality. 

"Well — you  got  here,  anyways." 

"Well — I'll  tell  you.  I  guess  you  don't  know  about 
the  auto  accident,"  he  romanced. 

Myra's  eyes  opened  wide. 

"Who  was  it  to?" 

"Well,"  he  continued  desperately,  "uncle  'n  aunt  'n  I." 

"Was  any  one  killed?" 

Amory  paused  and  then  nodded. 

"Your  uncle ?  " — alarm. 

"Oh,  no — just  a  horse — a  sorta  gray  horse." 

At  this  point  the  Erse  butler  snickered. 

"Probably  killed  the  engine,"  he  suggested.  Amory 
would  have  put  him  on  the  rack  without  a  scruple. 

"  We'll  go  now,"  said  Myra  coolly.  "You  see,  Amory, 
the  bobs  were  ordered  for  five  and  everybody  was  here, 
so  we  couldn't  wait " 

"Well,  I  couldn't  help  it,  could  I?" 

"  So  mama  said  for  me  to  wait  till  ha'past  five.    We'll 


12  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

catch  the  bob  before  it  gets  to  the  Minnehaha  Club, 
Amory." 

Amory's  shredded  poise  dropped  from  him.  He  pic- 
tured the  happy  party  jingling  along  snowy  streets,  the 
appearance  of  the  limousine,  the  horrible  public  descent 
of  him  and  Myra  before  sixty  reproachful  eyes,  his 
apology — a  real  one  this  time.  He  sighed  aloud. 

"What?"  inquired  Myra. 

"Nothing.  I  was  just  yawning.  Are  we  going  to 
surely  catch  up  with  'em  before  they  get  there?"  He 
was  encouraging  a  faint  hope  that  they  might  slip  into 
the  Minnehaha  Club  and  meet  the  others  there,  be 
found  in  blase  seclusion  before  the  fire  and  quite  regain 
his  lost  attitude. 

"Oh,  sure  Mike,  we'll  catch  'em  all  right — let's  hurry." 

He  became  conscious  of  his  stomach.  As  they  stepped 
into  the  machine  he  hurriedly  slapped  the  paint  of 
diplomacy  over  a  rather  box-like  plan  he  had  conceived. 
It  was  based  upon  some  "trade-lasts"  gleaned  at  danc- 
ing-school, to  the  effect  that  he  was  "awful  good-looking 
and  English,  sort  of." 

"Myra,"  he  said,  lowering  his  voice  and  choosing  his 
words  carefully,  "I  beg  a  thousand  pardons.  Can  you 
ever  forgive  me?  " 

She  regarded  him  gravely,  his  intent  green  eyes,  his 
mouth,  that  to  her  thirteen-year-old,  arrow-collar  taste 
was  the  quintessence  of  romance.  Yes,  Myra  could  for- 
give him  very  easily. 

"  Why — yes — sure." 

He  looked  at  her  again,  and  then  dropped  his  eyes. 
He  had  lashes. 

"I'm  awful,"  he  said  sadly.  "I'm  diff'runt  I  don't 
know  why  I  make  faux  pas.  'Cause  I  don't  care,  I 
s'pose."  Then,  recklessly:  "I  been  smoking  too  much. 
I've  got  t'bacca  heart." 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  13 

Myra  pictured  an  all-night  tobacco  debauch,  with 
Amory  pale  and  reeling  from  the  effect  of  nicotined 
lungs.  She  gave  a  little  gasp. 

' '  Oh,  A  mory,  don' t  smoke.     You'll  stunt  your  growth  I ' ' 

"I  don't  care,"  he  persisted  gloomily.  "I  gotta.  I 
got  the  habit.  I've  done  a  lot  of  things  that  if  my 
fambly  knew" — he  hesitated,  giving  her  imagination 
time  to  picture  dark  horrors — "I  went  to  the  burlesque 
show  last  week." 

Myra  was  quite  overcome.  He  turned  the  green  eyes 
on  her  again. 

"You're  the  only  girl  in  town  I  like  much,"  he  ex- 
claimed in  a  rush  of  sentiment.  "You're  simpatico." 

Myra  was  not  sure  that  she  was,  but  it  sounded  stylish 
though  vaguely  improper. 

Thick  dusk  had  descended  outside,  and  as  the  limou- 
sine made  a  sudden  turn  she  was  jolted  against  him; 
their  hands  touched. 

"You  shouldn't  smoke,  Amory,"  she  whispered. 
"Don't  you  know  that?" 

He  shook  his  head. 

"Nobody  cares." 

Myra  hesitated. 

"/  care." 

Something  stirred  within  Amory. 

"  Oh,  yes,  you  do !  You  got  a  crush  on  Froggy  Parker. 
I  guess  everybody  knows  that." 

"No,  I  havei  't,"  very  slowly. 

A  silence,  while  Amory  thrilled.  There  was  some- 
thing fascinating  about  Myra,  shut  away  here  cosily 
from  the  dim,  chill  air.  Myra,  a  little  bundle  of  clothes, 
with  strands  of  yellow  hair  curling  out  from  under  her 
skating  cap. 

'"'Because  I've  got  a  crush,  too — "  He  paused,  for 
he  heard  in  the  distance  the  sound  of  young  laughter, 


i4  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

and,  peering  through  the  frosted  glass  along  the  lamp-lit 
street,  he  made  out  the  dark  outline  of  the  bobbing 
party.  He  must  act  quickly.  He  reached  over  with  a 
violent,  jerky  effort,  and  clutched  Myra's  hand — her 
thumb,  to  be  exact. 

"Tell  him  to  go  to  the  Minnehaha  straight,"  he  whis- 
pered. "I  wanta  talk  to  you — I  got  to  talk  to  you." 

Myra  made  out  the  party  ahead,  had  an  instant 
vision  of  her  mother,  and  then — alas  for  convention — 
glanced  into  the  eyes  beside. 

"Turn  down  this  side  street,  Richard,  and  drive 
straight  to  the  Minnehaha  Club ! "  she  cried  through  the 
speaking  tube.  Amory  sank  back  against  the  cushions 
with  a  sigh  of  relief. 

"I  can  kiss  her,"  he  thought  "I'll  bet  I  can.  I'll 
bet  I  can!" 

Overhead  the  sky  was  half  crystalline,  half  misty, 
and  the  night  around  was  chill  and  vibrant  with  rich 
tension.  From  the  Country  Club  steps  the  roads 
stretched  away,  dark  creases  on  the  white  blanket;  huge 
heaps  of  snow  lining  the  sides  like  the  tracks  of  giant 
moles.  They  lingered  for  a  moment  on  the  steps,  and 
watched  the  white  holiday  moon. 

"Pale  moons  like  that  one" — Amory  made  a  vague 
gesture — "make  people  mysterieuse.  You  look  like  a 
young  witch  with  her  cap  off  and  her  hair  sorta  mussed" 
— her  hands  clutched  at  her  hair —  "Oh,  leave  it,  it 
looks  good." 

They  drifted  up  the  stairs  and  Myra  led  the  way  into 
the  little  den  of  his  dreams,  where  a  cosy  fire  was  burn- 
ing before  a  big  sink-down  couch.  A  few  years  later 
this  was  to  be  a  great  stage  for  Amory,  a  cradle  for  many 
an  emotional  crisis.  Now  they  talked  for  a  moment 
about  bobbing  parties. 

"There's  always  a  bunch  of  shy  fellas,"  he  com- 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  15 

mented,  "sitting  at  the  tail  of  the  bob,  sorta  lurkin'  an* 
whisperin'  an'  pushin'  each  other  off.  Then  there's 
always  some  crazy  cross-eyed  girl" — he  gave  a  terrify- 
ing imitation — "she's  always  talkin'  hard,  sorta,  to  the 
chaperon." 

"You're  such  a  funny  boy,"  puzzled  Myra. 

"How  d'y'  mean?"  Amory  gave  immediate  atten- 
tion, on  his  own  ground  at  last. 

"Oh — always  talking  about  crazy  things.  Why  don't 
you  come  ski-ing  with  Marylyn  and  I  to-morrow?" 

"I  don't  hike  girls  in  the  daytime,"  he  said  shortly, 
and  then,  thinking  this  a  bit- abrupt,  he  added:  "But  I 
like  you."  He  cleared  his  throat.  "I  like  you  first  and 
second  and  third." 

Myra's  eyes  became  dreamy.  What  a  story  this 
would  make  to  tell  Marylyn !  Here  on  the  couch  with 
this  wonderful-looking  boy — the  little  fire — the  sense 
that  they  were  alone  in  the  great  building 

Myra  capitulated.  The  atmosphere  was  too  appro- 
priate. 

"I  like  you  the  first  twenty-five,"  she  confessed,  her 
voice  trembling,  "and  Froggy  Parker  twenty-sixth." 

Froggy  had  fallen  twenty-five  places  in  one  hour.  As 
yet  he  had  not  even  noticed  it. 

But  Amory,  being  on  the  spot,  leaned  over  quickly 
and  kissed  Myra's  cheek.  He  had  never  kissed  a  girl 
before,  and  he  tasted  his  lips  curiously,  as  if  he  had 
munched  some  new  fruit.  Then  their  lips  brushed  like 
young  wild  flowers  in  the  wind. 

"We're  awful,"  rejoiced  Myra  gently.  She  slipped 
her  hand  into  his,  her  head  drooped  against  his  shoulder. 
Sudden  revulsion  seized  Amory,  disgust,  loathing  for 
the  whole  incident.  He  desired  frantically  to  be  away, 
never  to  see  Myra  again,  never  to  kiss  any  one;  he  be- 
came conscious  of  his  face  and  hers,  of  their  clinging 


16  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

hands,  and  he  wanted  to  creep  out  of  his  body  and  hide 
somewhere  safe  out  of  sight,  up  in  the  corner  of  his 
mind. 

"Kiss  me  again."  Her  voice  came  out  of  a  great 
void. 

"I  don  t  want  to,"  he  heard  himself  saying.  There 
was  another  pause. 

"  I  don't  want  to !"  he  repeated  passionately. 

Myra  sprang  up,  her  cheeks  pink  with  bruised  vanity, 
the  great  bow  on  the  back  of  her  head  trembling  sym- 
pathetically. 

"I  hate  you!"  she  cried.  "Don't  you  ever  dare. to 
speak  to  me  again ! " 

"What?"  stammered  Amory. 

"I'll  tell  mama  you  kissed  me!  I  wfll  too!  I  will 
too!  I'll  tell  mama,  and  she  won't  let  me  play  with 
you!" 

Amory  rose  and  stared  at  her  helplessly,  as  though 
she  were  a  new  animal  of  whose  presence  on  the  earth 
he  had  not  heretofore  been  aware. 

The  door  opened  suddenly,  and  Myra's  mother  ap- 
peared on  the  threshold,  fumbling  with  her  lorgnette. 

"Well,"  she  began,  adjusting  it  benignantly,  "the 
man  at  the  desk  told  me  you  two  children  were  up  here — 
How  do  you  do,  Amory." 

Amory  watched  Myra  and  waited  for  the  crash — but 
none  came.  The  pout  faded,  the  high  pink  subsided, 
and  Myra's  voice  was  placid  as  a  summer  lake  when 
she  answered  her  mother. 

"Oh,  we  started  so  late,  mama,  that  I  thought  we 
might  as  well " 

He  heard  from  below  the  shrieks  of  laughter,  and 
smelled  the  vapid  odor  of  hot  chocolate  and  tea-cakes  as 
he  silently  followed  mother  and  daughter  down-stairs. 
The  sound  of  the  graphophone  mingled  with  the  voices 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  17 

of  many  girls  humming  the  air,  and  a  faint  glow  was 
born  and  spread  over  him: 

"Casey- Jones — mounted  to  the  cab-un 
Casey-Jones — 'th  his  orders  in  his  hand. 
Casey-Jones — mounted  to  the  cab-un 
Took  his  farewell  journey  to  the  prom-ised  land." 


SNAPSHOTS  OF  THE  YOUNG  EGOTIST 

Amory  spent  nearly  two  years  in  Minneapolis.  The 
first  winter  he  wore  moccasins  that  were  born  yellow, 
but  after  many  applications  of  oil  and  dirt  assumed  their 
mature  color,  a  dirty,  greenish  brown;  he  wore  a  gray 
plaid  mackinaw  coat,  and  a  red  toboggan  cap.  His 
dog,  Count  Del  Monte,  ate  the  red  cap,  so  his  uncle 
gave  him  a  gray  one  that  pulled  down  over  his  face. 
The  trouble  with  this  one  was  that  you  breathed  into  it 
and  your  breath  froze;  one  day  the  darn  thing  froze  his 
cheek.  He  rubbed  snow  on  his  cheek,  but  it  turned 
bluish-black  just  the  same. 

The  Count  Del  Monte  ate  a  box  of  bluing  once,  but 
it  didn't  hurt  him.  Later,  however,  he  lost  his  mind 
and  ran  madly  up  the  street,  bumping  into  fences,  roll- 
ing in  gutters,  and  pursuing  his  eccentric  course  out  of 
Amory's  life.  Amory  cried  on  his  bed. 

"Poor  little  Count,"  he  cried.  "Oh,  poor  little 
Count!" 

After  several  months  he  suspected  Count  of  a  fine 
piece  of  emotional  acting. 

Amory  and  Frog  Parker  considered  that  the  greatest 
line  in  literature  occurred  in  Act  III  of  "Arsene  Lu- 
pin." 


i8  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

They  sat  in  the  first  row  at  the  Wednesday  and  Satur- 
day matinees.  The  line  was: 

"If  one  can't  be  a  great  artist  or  a  great  soldier,  the 
next  best  thing  is  to  be  a  great  criminal." 

Arnory  fell  in  love  again,  and  wrote  a  poem.  This 
was  it: 

"Marylyn  and  Sallee, 

Those  are  the  girls  for  me. 
Marylyn  stands  above 
Sa.Hee  in  that  sweet,  deep  love." 

He  was  interested  in  whether  McGovern  of  Minne- 
sota would  make  the  first  or  second  Ail-American,  how 
to  do  the  card-pass,  how  to  do  the  coin-pass,  chameleon 
ties,  how  babies  were  born,  and  whether  Three-fingered 
Brown  was  really  a  better  pitcher  than  Christie  Mathew- 
son. 

Among  other  things  he  read:  "For  the  Honor  of  the 
School,"  "Little  Women"  (twice),  "The  Common 
Law,"  "Sapho,"  "Dangerous  Dan  McGrew,"  "The 
Broad  Highway"  (three  times),  "The  Fall  of  the  House 
of  Usher,"  "Three  Weeks,"  "Mary  Ware,  the  Little 
Colonel's  Chum,"  "Gunga  Dhin,"  The  Police  Gazette, 
and  Jim- Jam  Jems. 

He  had  all  the  Henty  biasses  in  history,  and  was  par- 
ticularly fond  of  the  cheerful  murder  stories  of  Mary 
Roberts  Rineheart. 

School  ruined  his  French  and  gave  him  a  distaste  for 
standard  authors.  His  masters  considered  him  idle, 
unreliable  and  superficially  clever. 

He  collected  locks  of  hair  from  many  girls.  He  wore 
the  rings  of  several.  Finally  he  could  borrow  no  more 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  19 

rings,  owing  to  his  nervous  habit  of  chewing  them  out 
of  shape.  This,  it  seemed,  usually  aroused  the  jealous 
suspicions  of  the  next  borrower. 

All  through  the  summer  months  Amory  and  Frog 
Parker  went  each  week  to  the  Stock  Company.  After- 
ward they  would  stroll  home  in  the  balmy  air  of  August 
night,  dreaming  along  Hennepin  and  Nicollet  Avenues, 
through  the  gay  crowd.  Amory  wondered  how  people 
could  fail  to  notice  that  he  was  a  boy  marked  for  glory, 
and  when  faces  of  the  throng  turned  toward  him  and 
ambiguous  eyes  stared  into  his,  he  assumed  the  most 
romantic  of  expressions  and  walked  on  the  air  cushions 
that  lie  on  the  asphalts  of  fourteen. 

Always,  after  he  was  in  bed,  there  were  voices — 
indefinite,  fading,  enchanting — just  outside  his  window, 
and  before  he  fell  asleep  he  would  dream  one  of  his 
favorite  waking  dreams,  the  one  about  becoming  a 
great  half-back,  or  the  one  about  the  Japanese  invasion, 
when  he  was  rewarded  by  being  made  the  youngest 
general  in  the  world.  It  was  always  the  becoming  he 
dreamed  of,  never  the  being.  This,  too,  was  quite  char- 
acteristic of  Amory. 

CODE  OF  THE  YOUNG  EGOTIST 

Before  he  was  summoned  back  to  Lake  Geneva,  he 
had  appeared,  shy  but  inwardly  glowing,  in  his  first  long 
trousers,  set  off  by  a  purple  accordion  tie  and  a  "Bel- 
mont"  collar  with  the  edges  unassailably  meeting,  pur- 
ple socks,  and  handkerchief  with  a  purple  border  peep- 
ing from  his  breast  pocket.  But  more  than  that,  he 
had  formulated  his  first  philosophy,  a  code  to  live  by, 
which,  as  near  as  it  can  be  named,  was  a  sort  of  aristo- 
cratic egotism. 


20  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

He  had  realized  that  his  best  interests  were  bound 
up  with  those  of  a  certain  variant,  changing  person, 
whose  label,  in  order  that  his  past  might  always  be 
identified  with  him,  was  Amory  Elaine.  Amory  marked 
himself  a  fortunate  youth,  capable  of  infinite  expansion 
for  good  or  evil.  He  did  not  consider  himself  a  "strong 
char'c'ter,"  but  relied  on  his  facility  (learn  things  sorta 
quick)  and  his  superior  mentality  (read  a  lotta  deep 
books).  He  was  proud  of  the  fact  that  he  could  never 
become  a  mechanical  or  scientific  genius.  From  no 
other  heights  was  he  debarred. 

Physically. — Amory  thought  that  he  was  exceedingly 
handsome.  He  was.  He  fancied  himself  an  athlete  of 
possibilities  and  a  supple  dancer. 

Socially. — Here  his  condition  was,  perhaps,  most  dan- 
gerous. He  granted  himself  personality,  charm,  mag- 
netism, poise,  the  power  of  dominating  all  contemporary 
males,  the  gift  of  fascinating  all  women. 

Mentally. — Complete,  unquestioned  superiority. 

Now  a  confession  will  have  to  be  made.  Amory  had 
rather  a  Puritan  conscience.  Not  that  he  yielded  to  it 
—later  in  life  he  almost  completely  slew  it — but  at  fif- 
teen it  made  him  consider  himseLf  a  great  deal  worse 
than  other  boys  .  .  .  unscrupulousness  .  .  .  the  desire 
to  influence  people  in  almost  every  way,  even  for  evil 
...  a  certain  coldness  and  lack  of  affection,  amounting 
sometimes  to  cruelty  ...  a  shifting  sense  of  honor 
...  an  unholy  selfishness  ...  a  puzzled,  furtive  in- 
terest in  everything  concerning  sex. 

There  was,  also,  a  curious  strain  of  weakness  running 
crosswise  through  his  make-up  ...  a  harsh  phrase 
from  the  lips  of  an  older  boy '(older  boys  usually  detested 
him)  was  liable  to  sweep  him  off  his  poise  into  surly  sen- 
sitiveness, or  timid  stupidity  ...  he  was  a  slave  to  his 
own  moods  and  he  felt  that  though  he  was  capable  of 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  21 

recklessness  and  audacity,  he  possessed  neither  courage, 
perseverance,  nor  self-respect. 

Vanity,  tempered  with  self-suspicion  if  not  self- 
knowledge,  a  sense  of  people  as  automatons  to  his  will, 
a  desire  to  "pass"  as  many  boys  as  possible  and  get  to 
a  vague  top  of  the  world  .  .  .  with  this  background 
did  Amory  drift  into  adolescence. 

PREPARATORY  TO  THE  GREAT  ADVENTURE 

The  train  slowed  up  with  midsummer  languor  at 
Lake  Geneva,  and  Amory  caught  sight  of  his  mother 
waiting  in  her  electric  on  the  gravelled  station  drive. 
It  was  an  ancient  electric,  one  of  the  early  types,  and 
painted  gray.  The  sight  of  her  sitting  there,  slenderly 
erect,  and  of  her  face,  where  beauty  and  dignity  com- 
bined, melting  to  a  dreamy  recollected  smile,  filled  him 
with  a  sudden  great  pride  of  her.  As  they  kissed  coolly 
and  he  stepped  into  the  electric,  he  felt  a  quick  fear 
lest  he  had  lost  the  requisite  charm  to  measure  up  to 
her. 

"Dear  boy — you're  so  tall  .  .  .  look  behind  and  see 
if  there's  anything  coming  .  .  ." 

She  looked  left  and  right,  she  slipped  cautiously  into 
a  speed  of  two  miles  an  hour,  beseeching  Amory  to  act 
as  sentinel;  and  at  one  busy  crossing  she  made  him  get 
out  and  run  ahead  to  signal  her  forward  like  a  traffic 
policeman.  Beatrice  was  what  might  be  termed  a  care- 
ful driver. 

"You  are  tall — but  you're  still  very  handsome — you've 
skipped  the  awkward  age,  or  is  that  sixteen;  perhaps 
it's  fourteen  or  fifteen;  I  can  never  remember;  but 
you've  skipped  it" 

"Don't  embarrass  me,"  murmured  Amory. 

"But,  my  dear  boy,  what  odd  clothes!    They  look 


22  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

as  if  they  were  a  set — don't  they?  Is  your  underwear 
purple,  too?" 

Amory  grunted  impolitely. 

"You  must  go  to  Brooks'  and  get  some  really  nice 
suits.  Oh,  we'll  have  a  talk  to-night  or  perhaps  to- 
morrow night.  I  want  to  tell  you  about  your  heart — 
you've  probably  been  neglecting  your  heart — and  you 
don't  know." 

Amory  thought  how  superficial  was  the  recent  over- 
lay of  his  own  generation.  Aside  from  a  minute  shy- 
ness, he  felt  that  the  old  cynical  kinship  with  his  mother 
had  not  been  one  bit  broken.  Yet  for  the  first  few 
days  he  wandered  about  the  gardens  and  along  the 
shore  in  a  state  of  superloneliness,  finding  a  lethargic 
content  in  smoking  "Bull"  at  the  garage  with  one  of 
the  chauffeurs. 

The  sixty  acres  of  the  estate  were  dotted  with  old  and 
new  summer  houses  and  many  fountains  and  white 
benches  that  came  suddenly  into  sight  from  foKage- 
hung  hiding-places;  there  was  a  great  and  constantly 
increasing  family  of  white  cats  that  prowled  the  many 
flower-beds  and  were  silhouetted  suddenly  at  night 
against  the  darkening  trees.  It  was  on  one  of  the 
shadowy  paths  that  Beatrice  at  last  captured  Amory, 
after  Mr.  Elaine  had,  as  usual,  retired  for  the  evening 
to  his  private  library.  After  reproving  him  for  avoid- 
ing her,  she  took  him  for  a  long  t£te-a-tete  in  the  moon- 
light He  could  not  reconcile  himself  to  her  beauty, 
that  was  mother  to  his  own,  the  exquisite  neck  and 
shoulders,  the  grace  of  a  fortunate  woman  of  thirty. 

"Amory,  dear,"  she  crooned  softly,  "I  had  such  a 
strange,  weird  time  after  I  left  you." 

"Did  you,  Beatrice?" 

"When  I  had  my  last  breakdown" — she  spoke  of  it 
as  a  sturdy,  gallant  feat. 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  23 

"The  doctors  told  me" — her  voice  sang  on  a  confi- 
dential note — "that  if  any  man  alive  had  done  the  con- 
sistent drinking  that  I  have,  he  would  have  been  physi- 
cally shattered,  my  dear,  and  in  his  grave — long  in  his 
grave." 

Amory  winced,  and  wondered  how  this  would  have 
sounded  to  Froggy  Parker. 

"Yes,"  continued  Beatrice  tragically,  "I  had  dreams 
—wonderful  visions."  She  pressed  the  palms  of  her 
hands  into  her  eyes.  "I  saw  bronze  rivers  lapping  mar- 
ble shores,  and  great  birds  that  soared  through  the  air, 
parti-colored  birds  with  iridescent  plumage.  I  heard 
strange  music  and  the  flare  of  barbaric  trumpets — 
what?" 

Amory  had  snickered. 

"What,  Amory?" 

"I  said  go  on,  Beatrice." 

"That  was  all — it  merely  recurred  and  recurred — 
gardens  that  flaunted  coloring  against  which  this  would 
be  quite  dull,  moons  that  whirled  and  swayed,  paler  than 
winter  moons,  more  golden  than  harvest  moons " 

"Are  you  quite  well  now,  Beatrice?" 

"Quite  well — as  well  as  I  will  ever  be.  I  am  not 
understood,  Amory.  I  know  that  can't  express  it  to 
you,  Amory,  but — I  am  not  understood." 

Amory  was  quite  moved.  He  put  his  arm  around  his 
mother,  rubbing  his  head  gently  against  her  shoulder. 

"Poor  Beatrice — poor  Beatrice." 

"Tell  me  about  you,  Amory.  Did  you  have  two 
horrible  years?" 

Amory  considered  lying,  and  then  decided  against  it. 

"No,  Beatrice.  I  enjoyed  them.  I  adapted  myself 
to  the  bourgeoisie.  I  became  conventional."  He  sur- 
prised himself  by  saying  that,  and  he  pictured  how 
Froggy  would  have  gaped. 


24  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Beatrice,"  he  said  suddenly,  "I  want  to  go  away  to 
school.  Everybody  in  Minneapolis  is  going  to  go  away 
to  school." 

Beatrice  showed  some  alarm. 

"But  you're  only  fifteen." 

"Yes,  but  everybody  goes  away  to  school  at  fifteen, 
and  I  want  to,  Beatrice." 

On  Beatrice's  suggestion  the  subject  was  dropped  for 
the  rest  of  the  walk,  but  a  week  later  she  delighted  him 
by  saying: 

"Amory,  I  have  decided  to  let  you  have  your  way. 
If  you  still  want  to,  you  can  go  to  school." 

"Yes?" 

"To  St.  Regis's  in  Connecticut." 

Amory  felt  a  quick  excitement; 

"It's  being  arranged,"  continued  Beatrice.  "It's  bet- 
ter that  you  should  go  away.  I'd  have  preferred  you 
to  have  gone  to  Eton,  and  then  to  Christ  Church,  Ox- 
ford, but  it  seems  impracticable  now — and  for  the  pres- 
ent we'll  let  the  university  question  take  care  of  itself." 

"What  are  you  going  to  do,  Beatrice?" 

"Heaven  knows.  It  seems  my  fate  to  fret  away  my 
years  in  this  country.  Not  for  a  second  do  I  regret 
being  American — indeed,  I  think  that  a  regret  typical 
of  very  vulgar  people,  and  I  feel  sure  we  are  the  great 
coming  nation — yet" — and  she  sighed — "I  feel  my  life 
should  have  drowsed  away  close  to  an  older,  mellower 
civilization,  a  land  of  greens  and  autumnal  browns " 

Amory  did  not  answer,  so  his  mother  continued: 

"My  regret  is  that  you  haven't  been  abroad,  but  still, 
as  you  are  a  man,  it's  better  that  you  should  grow  up 
here  under  the  snarling  eagle — is  that  the  right  term?" 

Amory  agreed  that  it  was.  She  would  not  have  ap- 
preciated the  Japanese  invasion. 

"When  do  I  go  to  school?" 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  25 

"Next  month.  You'll  have  to  start  East  a  little 
early  to  take  your  examinations.  After  that  you'll 
have  a  free  week,  so  I  want  you  to  go  up  the  Hudson 
and  pay  a  visit." 

"To  who?" 

"To  Monsignor  Darcy,  Amory.  He  wants  to  see 
you.  He  went  to  Harrow  and  then  to  Yale — became  a 
Catholic.  I  want  him  to  talk  to  you — I  feel  he  can  be 
such  a  help — "  She  stroked  his  auburn  hair  gently. 
"Dear  Amory,  dear  Amory " 

"Dear  Beatrice— 

So  early  in  September  Amory,  provided  with  "six 
suits  summer  underwear,  six  suits  winter  underwear, 
one  sweater  or  T  shirt,  one  jersey,  one  overcoat,  winter, 
etc.,"  set  out  for  New  England,  the  land  of  schools. 

There  were  Andover  and  Exeter  with  their  memories 
of  New  England  dead — large,  college-like  democracies; 
St.  Mark's,  Groton,  St.  Regis' — recruited  from  Boston 
and  the  Knickerbocker  families  of  New  York;  St.  Paul's, 
with  its  great  rinks;  Pomfret  and  St.  George's,  prosper- 
ous and  well-dressed;  Taft  and  Hotchkiss,  which  pre- 
pared the  wealth  of  the  Middle  West  for  social  success 
at  Yale;  Pawling,  Westminster,  Choate,  Kent,  and  a 
hundred  others;  all  milling  out  their  well-set-up,  conven- 
tional, impressive  type,  year  after  year;  then*  mental 
stimulus  the  college  entrance  exams;  their  vague  pur- 
pose set  forth  in  a  hundred  circulars  as  "To  impart  a 
Thorough  Mental,  Moral,  and  Physical  Training  as  a 
Christian  Gentleman,  to  fit  the  boy  for  meeting  the  prob- 
lems of  his  day  and  generation,  and  to  give  a  solid  foun- 
dation in  the  Arts  and  Sciences." 

At  St.  Regis'  Amory  stayed  three  days  and  took  his 
exams  with  a  scoffing  confidence,  then  doubling  back 
to  New  York  to  pay  his  tutelary  visit  The  metropolis, 


26  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

barely  glimpsed,  made  little  impression  on  him,  except 
for  the  sense  of  cleanliness  he  drew  from  the  tall  white 
buildings  seen  from  a  Hudson  River  steamboat  in  the 
early  morning.  Indeed,  his  mind  was  so  crowded  with 
dreams  of  athletic  prowess  at  school  that  he  considered 
this  visit  only  as  a  rather  tiresome  prelude  to  the  great 
adventure.  This,  however,  it  did  not  prove  to  be. 

Monsignor  Darcy's  house  was  an  ancient,  rambling 
structure  set  on  a  hill  overlooking  the  river,  and  there 
lived  its  owner,  between  his  trips  to  all  parts  of  the 
Roman-Catholic  world,  rather  like  an  exiled  Stuart 
king  waiting  to  be  called  to  the  rule  of  his  land.  Mon- 
signor was  forty-four  then,  and  bustling — a  trifle  too 
stout  for  symmetry,  with  hair  the  color  of  spun  gold, 
and  a  brilliant,  enveloping  personality.  When  he  came 
into  a  room  clad  in  his  full  purple  regalia  from  thatch 
to  toe,  he  resembled  a  Turner  sunset,  and  attracted 
both  admiration  and  attention.  He  had  written  two 
novels:  one  of  them  violently  anti-Catholic,  just  before 
his  conversion,  and  five  years  later  another,  in  which 
he  had  attempted  to  turn  all  his  clever  jibes  against 
Catholics  into  even  cleverer  innuendoes  against  Epis- 
copalians. He  was  intensely  ritualistic,  startlingly  dra- 
matic, loved  the  idea  of  God  enough  to  be  a  celibate, 
and  rather  liked  his  neighbor. 

Children  adored  him  because  he  was  like  a  child; 
youth  revelled  in  his  company  because  he  was  still  a 
youth,  and  couldn't  be  shocked.  In  the  proper  land 
and  century  he  might  have  been  a  Richelieu — at  present 
he  was  a  very  moral,  very  religious  (if  not  particularly 
pious)  clergyman,  making  a  great  mystery  about  pulling 
rusty  wires,  and  appreciating  life  to  the  fullest,  if  not 
entirely  enjoying  it. 

He  and  Amory  took  to  each  other  at  first  sight — the 
jovial,  impressive  prelate  who  could  dazzle  an  embassy 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  27 

ball,  and  the  green-eyed,  intent  youth,  in  his  first  long 
trousers,  accepted  in  their  own  minds  a  relation  of 
father  and  son  within  a  half-hour's  conversation. 

"My  dear  boy,  I've  been  waiting  to  see  you  for  years. 
Take  a  big  chair  and  we'll  have  a  chat." 

"I've  just  come  from  school — St.  Regis's,  you  know." 

"So  your  mother  says — a  remarkable  woman;  have  a 
cigarette — I'm  sure  you  smoke.  Well,  if  you're  like  me, 
you  loathe  all  science  and  mathematics " 

Amory  nodded  vehemently. 

"Hate  'em  all.    Like  English  and  history." 

"Of  course.  You'll  hate  school  for  a  while,  too,  but 
I'm  glad  you're  going  to  St.  Regis's." 

"Why?" 

"Because  it's  a  gentleman's  school,  and  democracy 
won't  hit  you  so  early.  You'll  find  plenty  of  that  in 
college." 

"I  want  to  go  to  Princeton,"  said  Amory.  "I  don't 
know  why,  but  I  think  of  all  Harvard  men  as  sissies, 
like  I  used  to  be,  and  all  Yale  men  as  wearing  big  blue 
sweaters  and  smoking  pipes." 

Monsignor  chuckled. 

"I'm  one,  you  know." 

"Oh,  you're  different — I  think  of  Princeton  as  being 
lazy  and  good-looking  and  aristocratic — you  know,  like 
a  spring  day.  Harvard  seems  sort  of  indoors " 

"And  Yale  is  November,  crisp  and  energetic,"  fin- 
ished Monsignor. 

"That's  it." 

They  slipped  briskly  into  an  intimacy  from  which 
they  never  recovered. 

"I  was  for  Bonnie  Prince  Charlie,"  announced  Amory. 

"Of  course  you  were — and  for  Hannibal " 

"Yes,  and  for  the  Southern  Confederacy."  He  was 
rather  sceptical  about  being  an  Irish  patriot — he  sus- 


28  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

pected  that  being  Irish  was  being  somewhat  common — 
but  Monsignor  assured  him  that  Ireland  was  a  romantic 
lost  cause  and  Irish  people  quite  charming,  and  that  it 
should,  by  all  means,  be  one  of  his  principal  biasses. 

After  a  crowded  hour  which  included  several  more 
cigarettes,  and  during  which  Monsignor  learned,  to  his 
surprise  but  not  to  his  horror,  that  Amory  had  not 
been  brought  up  a  Catholic,  he  announced  that  he  had 
another  guest.  This  turned  out  to  be  the  Honorable 
Thornton  Hancock,  of  Boston,  ex-minister  to  The 
Hague,  author  of  an  erudite  history  of  the  Middle  Ages 
and  the  last  of  a  distinguished,  patriotic,  and  brilliant 
family. 

"He  comes  here  for  a  rest,"  said  Monsignor  confiden- 
tially, treating  Amory  as  a  contemporary.  "I  act  as 
an  escape  from  the  weariness  of  agnosticism,  and  I  think 
I'm  the  only  man  who  knows  how  his  staid  old  mind  is 
really  at  sea  and  longs  for  a  sturdy  spar  like  the  Church 
to  cling  to." 

Then*  first  luncheon  was  one  of  the  memorable  events 
of  Amory's  early  life.  He  was  quite  radiant  and  gave 
off  a  peculiar  brightness  and  charm.  Monsignor  called 
out  the  best  that  he  had  thought  by  question  and  sug- 
gestion, and  Amory  talked  with  an  ingenious  brilliance 
of  a  thousand  impulses  and  desires  and  repulsions  and 
faiths  and  fears.  He  and  Monsignor  held  the  floor,  and 
the  older  man,  with  his  less  receptive,  less  accepting, 
yet  certainly  not  colder  mentality,  seemed  content  to 
listen  and  bask  in  the  mellow  sunshine  that  played  be- 
tween these  two.  Monsignor  gave  the  effect  of  sun- 
light to  many  people;  Amory  gave  it  in  his  youth  and, 
to  some  extent,  when  he  was  very  much  older,  but  never 
again  was  it  quite  so  mutually  spontaneous. 

"He's  a  radiant  boy,"  thought  Thornton  Hancock, 
who  had  seen  the  splendor  of  two  continents  and  talked 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  29 

with  Parnell  and  Gladstone  and  Bismarck — and  after- 
ward he  added  to  Monsignor:  "But  his  education  ought 
not  to  be  intrusted  to  a  school  or  college." 

But  for  the  next  four  years  the  best  of  Amory's  intel- 
lect was  concentrated  on  matters  of  popularity,  the  in- 
tricacies of  a  university  social  system  and  American 
Society  as  represented  by  Biltmore  Teas  and  Hot  Springs 
golf-links. 

...  In  all,  a  wonderful  week,  that  saw  Amory's 
mind  turned  inside  out,  a  hundred  of  his  theories  con- 
firmed, and  his  joy  of  life  crystallized  to  a  thousand  am- 
bitions. Not  that  the  conversation  was  scholastic — 
heaven  forbid!  Amory  had  only  the  vaguest  idea  as 
to  what  Bernard  Shaw  was — but  Monsignor  made  quite 
as  much  out  of  "The  Beloved  Vagabond"  and  "Sir 
Nigel,"  taking  good  care  that  Amory  never  once  felt 
out  of  his  depthi 

But  the  trumpets  were  sounding  for  Amory's  prelimi- 
nary skirmish  with  his  own  generation. 

"You're  not  sorry  to  go,  of  course.  With  people  like 
us  our  home  is  where  we  are  not,"  said  Monsignor. 

"I  am  sorry " 

"No,  you're  not.  No  one  person  in  the  world  is 
necessary  to  you  or  to  me." 

"Well " 

"Good-by." 


Amory's  two  years  at  St.  Regis',  though  in  turn  pain- 
ful and  triumphant,  had  as  little  real  significance  in  his 
own  life  as  the  American  "prep"  school,  crushed  as  it 
is  under  the  heel  of  the  universities,  has  to  American  life 
in  general.  We  have  no  Eton  to  create  the  self-con- 
sciousness of  a  governing  class;  we  have,  instead,  clean, 
flaccid  and  innocuous  preparatory  schools. 


30  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

He  went  all  wrong  at  the  start,  was  generally  consid- 
ered both  conceited  and  arrogant,  and  universally  de- 
tested. He  played  football  intensely,  alternating  a 
reckless  brilliancy  with  a  tendency  to  keep  himself  as 
safe  from  hazard  as  decency  would  permit.  In  a  wild 
panic  he  backed  out  of  a  fight  with  a  boy  his  own  size, 
to  a  chorus  of  scorn,  and  a  week  later,  in  desperation, 
picked  a  battle  with  another  boy  very  much  bigger,  from 
which  he  emerged  badly  beaten,  but  rather  proud  of 
himself. 

He  was  resentful  against  all  those  in  authority  over 
him,  and  this,  combined  with  a  lazy  indifference  toward 
his  work,  exasperated  every  master  in  school.  He  grew 
discouraged  and  imagined  himself  a  pariah;  took  to 
sulking  in  corners  and  reading  after  lights.  With  a 
dread  of  being  alone  he  attached  a  few  friends,  but  since 
they  were  not  among  the  elite  of  the  school,  he  used 
them  simply  as  mirrors  of  himself,  audiences  before 
which  he  might  do  that  posing  absolutely  essential 
to  him.  He  was  unbearably  lonely,  desperately  un- 
happy. 

There  were  some  few  grains  of  comfort.  Whenever 
Amory  was  submerged,  his  vanity  was  the  last  part  to 
go  below  the  surface,  so  he  could  still  enjoy  a  comfort- 
able glow  when  "Wookey-wookey,"  the  deaf  old  house- 
keeper, told  him  that  he  was  the  best-looking  boy  she 
had  ever  seen.  It  had  pleased  him  to  be  the  lightest 
and  youngest  man  on  the  first  football  squad;  it  pleased 
him  when  Doctor  Dougall  told  him  at  the  end  of  a 
heated  conference  that  he  could,  if  he  wished,  get  the 
best  marks  in  school.  But  Doctor  Dougall  was  wrong. 
It  was  temperamentally  impossible  for  Amory  to  get 
the  best  marks  in  schooL 

Miserable,  confined  to  bounds,  unpopular  with  both 
faculty  and  students — that  was  Amory's  first  term. 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  31 

But   at  Christmas   he  had   returned   to   Minneapolis, 
tight-lipped  and  strangely  jubilant. 

"Oh,  I  was  sort  of  fresh  at  first,"  he  told  Frog  Parker 
patronizingly,  "but  I  got  along  fine — lightest  man  on 
the  squad.  You  ought  to  go  away  to  school,  Froggy. 
It's  great  stun*." 

INCIDENT  OF  TEE  WELL-MEANING  PROFESSOR 

On  the  last  night  of  his  first  term,  Mr.  Margotson,  the 
senior  master,  sent  word  to  study  hall  that  Amory  was 
to  come  to  his  room  at  nine.  Amory  suspected  that 
advice  was  forthcoming,  but  he  determined  to  be  courte- 
ous, because  this  Mr.  Margotson  had  been  kindly  dis- 
posed toward  him. 

His  summoner  received  him  gravely,  and  motioned 
him  to  a  chair.  He  hemmed  several  times  and  looked 
consciously  kind,  as  a  man  will  when  he  knows  he's  on 
delicate  ground. 

"Amory,"  he  began.  "I've  sent  for  you  on  a  per- 
sonal matter." 

"Yes,  sir." 

"I've  noticed  you  this  year  and  I — I  like  you.  I 
think  you  have  in  you  the  makings  of  a — a  very  good 
man." 

"Yes,  sir,"  Amory  managed  to  articulate.  He  hated 
having  people  talk  as  if  he  were  an  admitted  failure. 

"But  I've  noticed,"  continued  the  older  man  blindly, 
"that  you're  not  very  popular  with  the  boys." 

"No,  sir."    Amory  licked  his  lips. 

"Ah — I  thought  you  might  not  understand  exactly 
what  it  was  they — ah — objected  to.  I'm  going  to  tell 
you,  because  I  believe — ah — that  when  a  boy  knows  his 
difficulties  he's  better  able  to  cope  with  them — to  con- 
form to  what  others  expect  of  him."  He  a-hemmed 


32  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

again  with  delicate  reticence,  and  continued:  "They 
seem  to  think  that  you're — ah — rather  too  fresh 

Amory  could  stand  no  more.  He  rose  from  his  chair, 
scarcely  controlling  his  voice  when  he  spoke. 

"I  know — oh,  don't  you  s'pose  I  know."  His  voice 
rose.  "I  know  what  they  think;  do  you  s'pose  you 
have  to  tell  me!"  He  paused.  "I'm — I've  got  to  go 
back  now — hope  I'm  not  rude " 

He  left  the  room  hurriedly.  In  the  cool  air  outside, 
as  he  walked  to  his  house,  he  exulted  in  his  refusal  to  be 
helped. 

"That  damn  old  fool!"  he  cried  wildly.  "As  if  I 
didn't  know/" 

He  decided,  however,  that  this  was  a  good  excuse  not 
to  go  back  to  study  hall  that  night,  so,  comfortably 
couched  up  in  his  room,  he  munched  nabiscos  and 
finished  "The  White  Company." 

INCIDENT  OF  THE  WONDERFUL  GIRL 

There  was  a  bright  star  in  February.  New  York 
burst  upon  hi™  on  Washington's  Birthday  with  the  bril- 
liance of  a  long-anticipated  event.  His  glimpse  of  it 
as  a  vivid  whiteness  against  a  deep-blue  sky  had  left  a 
picture  of  splendor  that  rivalled  the  dream  cities  in 
the  Arabian  Nights;  but  this  time  he  saw  it  by  elec- 
tric light,  and  romance  gleamed  from  the  chariot-race 
sign  on  Broadway  and  from  the  women's  eyes  at  the 
Astor,  where  he  and  young  Paskert  from  St.  Regis' 
had  dinner.  When  they  walked  down  the  aisle  of  the 
theatre,  greeted  by  the  nervous  twanging  and  discord 
of  untuned  violins  and  the  sensuous,  heavy  fragrance 
of  paint  and  powder,  he  moved  in  a  sphere  of  epicurean 
delight.  Everything  enchanted  him.  The  play  was 
"The  Little  Millionaire,"  with  George  M.  Cohan,  and 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  33 

there  was  one  stunning  young  brunette  who  made  him 
sit  with  brimming  eyes  in  the  ecstasy  of  watching  her 
dance. 

"Oh — you — wonderful  girl, 
What  a  wonderful  girl  you  are — " 

sang  the  tenor,  and  Amory  agreed  silently,  but  passion- 
ately. 

"All — your — wonderful  words 
Thrill  me  through " 

The  violins  swelled  and  quavered  on  the  last  notes,  the 
girl  sank  to  a  crumpled  butterfly  on  the  stage,  a  great 
burst  of  clapping  filled  the  house.  Oh,  to  fall  in  love 
like  that,  to  the  languorous  magic  melody  of  such  a 
tune! 

The  last  scene  was  laid  on  a  roof-garden,  and  the 
'cellos  sighed  to  the  musical  moon,  while  light  adventure 
and  facile  froth-like  comedy  flitted  back  and  forth  in  the 
calcium.  Amory  was  on  fire  to  be  an  habitue  of  roof- 
gardens,  to  meet  a  girl  who  should  look  like  that — bet- 
ter, that  very  girl;  whose  hair  would  be  drenched  with 
golden  moonlight,  while  at  his  elbow  sparkling  wine  was 
poured  by  an  unintelligible  waiter.  When  the  curtain 
fell  for  the  last  time  he  gave  such  a  long  sigh  that  the 
people  in  front  of  him  twisted  around  and  stared  and 
said  loud  enough  for  him  to  hear: 

"What  a  remarkable-looking  boy!" 

This  took  his  mind  off  the  play,  and  he  wondered  if 
he  really  did  seem  handsome  to  the  population  of  New 
York. 

Paskert  and  he  walked  in  silence  toward  their  hotel. 
The  former  was  the  first  to  speak.  His  uncertain  fif- 
teen-year-old voice  broke  in  in  a  melancholy  strain  on 
Amory's  musings: 

'Td  marry  that  girl  to-night." 


34  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

There  was  no  need  to  ask  what  girl  he  referred  to. 

"I'd  be  proud  to  take  her  home  and  introduce  her  to 
my  people,"  continued  Paskert. 

Amory  was  distinctly  impressed.  He  wished  he  had 
said  it  instead  of  Paskert.  It  sounded  so  mature. 

"I  wonder  about  actresses;  are  they  all  pretty  bad?" 

"No,  sir,  not  by  a  darn  sight,"  said  the  worldly  youth 
with  emphasis,  "and  I  know  that  girl's  as  good  as  gold. 
I  can  tell." 

They  wandered  on,  mixing  in  the  Broadway  crowd, 
dreaming  on  the  music  that  eddied  out  of  the  cafes. 
New  faces  flashed  on  and  off  like  myriad  lights,  pale  or 
rouged  faces,  tired,  yet  sustained  by  a  weary  excitement. 
Amory  watched  them  in  fascination.  He  was  planning 
his  life.  He  was  going  to  live  in  New  York,  and  be 
known  at  every  restaurant  and  cafe,  wearing  a  dress- 
suit  from  early  evening  to  early  morning,  sleeping  away 
the  dull  hours  of  the  forenoon. 

"Yes,  sir,  I'd  marry  that  girl  to-night!" 

HEROIC  IN  GENERAL  TONE 

October  of  his  second  and  last  year  at  St.  Regis'  was 
a  high  point  in  Amory's  memory.  The  game  with  Gro- 
ton  was  played  from  three  of  a  snappy,  exhilarating 
afternoon  far  into  the  crisp  autumnal  twilight,  and 
Amory  at  quarter-back,  exhorting  in  wild  despair,  mak- 
ing impossible  tackles,  calling  signals  in  a  voke  that 
had  diminished  to  a  hoarse,  furious  whisper,  yet  found 
time  to  revel  in  the  blood-stained  bandage  around  his 
head,  and  the  straining,  glorious  heroism  of  plunging, 
crashing  bodies  and  aching  limbs.  For  those  minutes 
courage  flowed  like  wine  out  of  the  November  dusk, 
and  he  was  the  eternal  hero,  one  with  the  sea-rover  on 
the  prow  of  a  Norse  galley,  one  with  Roland  and  Hora- 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  35 

tius,  Sir  Nigel  and  Ted  Coy,  scraped  and  stripped  into 
trim  and  then  flung  by  his  own  will  into  the  breach, 
beating  back  the  tide,  hearing  from  afar  the  thunder  of 
cheers  .  .  .  finally  bruised  and  weary,  but  still  elusive, 
circling  an  end,  twisting,  changing  pace,  straight-arm- 
ing .  .  .  falling  behind  the  Groton  goal  with  two  men 
on  his  legs,  in  the  only  touchdown  of  the  game. 

THE  PHILOSOPHY  OF  THE  SLICKER 

From  the  scoffing  superiority  of  sixth-form  year  and 
success  Amory  looked  back  with  cynical  wonder  on  his 
status  of  the  year  before.  He  was  changed  as  com- 
pletely as  Amory  Elaine  could  ever  be  changed.  Amory 
plus  Beatrice  plus  two  years  in  Minneapolis — these  had 
been  his  ingredients  when  he  entered  St.  Regis'.  But 
the  Minneapolis  years  were  not  a  thick  enough  overlay 
to  conceal  the  "Amory  plus  Beatrice"  from  the  ferret- 
ing eyes  of  a  boarding-school,  so  St.  Regis'  had  very 
painfully  drilled  Beatrice  out  of  him,  and  begun  to  lay 
down  new  and  more  conventional  planking  on  the  fun- 
damental Amory.  But  both  St.  Regis'  and  Amory  were 
unconscious  of  the  fact  that  this  fundamental  Amory 
had  not  in  himself  changed.  Those  qualities  for  which 
he  had  suffered,  his  moodiness,  his  tendency  to  pose,  his 
laziness,  and  his  love  of  playing  the  fool,  were  now  taken 
as  a  matter  of  course,  recognized  eccentricities  in  a  star 
quarter-back,  a  clever  actor,  and  the  editor  of  the 
St.  Regis  Tattler:  it  puzzled  him  to  see  impressionable 
small  boys  imitating  the  very  vanities  that  had  not  long 
ago  been  contemptible  weaknesses. 

After  the  football  season  he  slumped  into  dreamy 
content.  The  night  of  the  pre-holiday  dance  he  slipped 
away  and  went  early  to  bed  for  the  pleasure  of  hearing 
the  violin  music  cross  the  grass  and  come  surging  in  at 


36  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

his  window.  Many  nights  he  lay  there  dreaming  awake 
of  secret  cafes  in  Mont  Martre,  where  ivory  women 
delved  in  romantic  mysteries  with  diplomats  and  soldiers 
of  fortune,  while  orchestras  played  Hungarian  waltzes 
and  the  air  was  thick  and  exotic  with  intrigue  and 
moonlight  and  adventure.  In  the  spring  he  read 
"L' Allegro,"  by  request,  and  was  inspired  to  lyrical 
outpourings  on  the  subject  of  Arcady  and  the  pipes  of 
Pan.  He  moved  his  bed  so  that  the  sun  would  wake 
him  at  dawn  that  he  might  dress  and  go  out  to  the 
archaic  swing  that  hung  from  an  apple-tree  near  the 
sixth-form  house.  Seating  himself  in  this  he  would 
pump  higher  and  higher  until  he  got  the  effect  of  swing- 
ing into  the  wide  air,  into  a  fairy-land  of  piping  satyrs 
and  nymphs  with  the  faces  of  fair-haired  girls  he  passed 
in  the  streets  of  Eastchester.  As  the  swing  reached  its 
highest  point,  Arcady  really  lay  just  over  the  brow  of  a 
certain  hill,  where  the  brown  road  dwindled  out  of  sight 
in  a  golden  dot. 

He  read  voluminously  all  spring,  the  beginning  of 
his  eighteenth  year:  "The  Gentleman  from  Indiana," 
"TheJSTew  Arabian  Nights,"  "The  Morals  of  Marcus 
Ordeyne,"  "The  Man  Who  Was  Thursday,"  which  he 
liked  without  understanding;  "Stover  at  Yale,"  that 
became  somewhat  of  a  text-book;  "Dombey  and  Son," 
because  he  thought  he  really  should  read  better  stuff; 
Robert  Chambers,  David  Graham  Phillips,  and  E. 
Phillips  Oppenheim  complete,  and  a  scattering  of  Tenny- 
son and  Kipling.  Of  all  his  class  work  only  "L' Allegro" 
and  some  quality  of  rigid  clarity  in  solid  geometry  stirred 
his  languid  interest. 

As  June  drew  near,  he  felt  the  need  of  conversation  to 
formulate  his  own  ideas,  and,  to  his  surprise,  found  a 
co-philosopher  in  Rahill,  the  president  of  the  sixth  form. 
In  many  a  talk,  on  the  highroad  or  lying  belly-down 


AMORY,  SON  OF  BEATRICE  37 

along  the  edge  of  the  baseball  diamond,  or  late  at  night 
with  their  cigarettes  glowing  in  the  dark,  they  threshed 
out  the  questions  of  school,  and  there  was  developed  the 
term  "slicker." 

"Got  tobacco?"  whispered  Rahill  one  night,  putting 
his  head  inside  the  door  five  minutes  after  lights. 

"Sure." 

"I'm  coming  in." 

"Take  a  couple  of  pillows  and  lie  in  the  window-seat, 
why  don't  you." 

Amory  sat  up  in  bed  and  lit  a  cigarette  while  Rahill 
settled  for  a  conversation.  RahilTs  favorite  subject 
was  the  respective  futures  of  the  sixth  form,  and  Amory 
never  tired  of  outlining  them  for  his  benefit. 

"Ted  Converse?  'At's  easy.  He'll  fail  his  exams, 
tutor  all  summer  at  Harstrum's,  get  into  Sheff  with 
about  four  conditions,  and  flunk  out  in  the  middle  of 
the  freshman  year.  Then  he'll  go  back  West  and  raise 
hell  for  a  year  or  so;  finally  his  father  will  make  him  go 
into  the  paint  business.  He'll  marry  and  have  four 
sons,  all  bone  heads.  He'll  always  think  St.  Regis's 
spoiled  him,  so  he'll  send  his  sons  to  day  school  in  Port- 
land. He'll  die  of  locomotor  ataxia  when  he's  forty- 
one,  and  his  wife  will  give  a  baptizing  stand  or  whatever 
you  call  it  to  the  Presbyterian  Church,  with  his  name 
on  it " 

"Hold  up,  Amory.  That's  too  darned  gloomy.  How 
about  yourself?" 

"I'm  in  a  superior  class.  You  are,  too.  We're  phil- 
osophers." 

"I'm  not." 

"Sure  you  are.  You've  got  a  darn  good  head  on 
you."  But  Amory  knew  that  nothing  in  the  abstract, 
no  theory  or  generality,  ever  moved  Rahill  until  he 
stubbed  his  toe  upon  the  concrete  minutiae  of  it 


38  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Haven't,"  insisted  Rahill.  "I  let  people  impose  on 
me  here  and  don't  get  anything  out  of  it  I'm  the  prey 
of  my  friends,  damn  it — do  their  lessons,  get  'em  out  of 
trouble,  pay  'em  stupid  summer  visits,  and  always  en- 
tertain their  kid  sisters;  keep  my  temper  when  they 
get  selfish  and  then  they  think  they  pay  me  back  by 
voting  for  me  and  telling  me  I'm  the  'big  man'  of  St. 
Regis's.  I  want  to  get  where  everybody  does  their  own 
work  and  I  can  tell  people  where  to  go.  I'm  tired  of 
being  nice  to  every  poor  fish  in  school." 

"You're  not  a  slicker,"  said  Amory  suddenly. 

"A  what?" 

"A  slicker." 

"What  the  devil's  that?" 

"Well,  it's  something  that — that — there's  a  lot  of 
them.  You're  not  one,  and  neither  am  I,  though  I  am 
more  than  you  are." 

"Who  is  one?    What  makes  you  one?" 

Amory  considered. 

"Why — why,  I  suppose  that  the  sign  of  it  is  when  a 
fellow  slicks  his  hair  back  with  water." 

"LikeCarstairs?" 

"Yes— sure.    He's  a  slicker." 

They  spent  two  evenings  getting  an  exact  definition. 
The  slicker  was  good-looking  or  clean-locking',  he  had 
brains,  social  brains,  that  is,  and  he  used  all  means  on 
the  broad  path  of  honesty  to  get  ahead,  be  popular,  ad- 
mired, and  never  in  trouble.  He  dressed  well,  was  par- 
ticularly neat  in  appearance,  and  derived  his  name 
from  the  fact  that  his  hair  was  inevitably  worn  short, 
soaked  in  water  or  tonic,  parted  in  the  middle,  and 
slicked  back  as  the  current  of  fashion  dictated.  The 
slickers  of  that  year  had  adopted  tortoise-shell  specta- 
cles as  badges  of  their  slickerhood,  and  this  made  them 
so  easy  to  recognize  that  Amory  and  Rahill  never  missed 


AMORY,  SON  QF  BEATRICE 


39 


one.  The  slicker  seemed  distributed  through  school,  al- 
ways a  little  wiser  and  shrewder  than  his  contempo- 
raries, managing  some  team  or  other,  and  keeping  his 
cleverness  carefully  concealed. 

Amory  found  the  slicker  a  most  valuable  classification 
until  his  junior  year  in  college,  when  the  outline  became 
so  blurred  and  indeterminate  that  it  had  to  be  subdivided 
many  times,  and  became  only  a  quality.  Amory's  secret 
ideal  had  all  the  slicker  qualifications,  but,  in  addition, 
courage  and  tremendous  brains  and  talents — also  Amory 
conceded  him  a  bizarre  streak  that  was  quite  irreconcila- 
ble to  the  slicker  proper. 

This  was  a  first  real  break  from  the  hypocrisy  of  school 
tradition.  The  slicker  was  a  definite  element  of  suc- 
cess, differing  intrinsically  from  the  prep  school  "big 
man." 


"THE  SLICKER" 
i.  Clever  sense  of  social  values. 


Dresses  well.  Pretends  that 
dress  is  superficial — but 
knows  that  it  isn't. 

Goes  into  such  activities  as 
he  can  shine  in. 

Gets  to  college  and  is,  in  a 
worldly  way,  successful. 


5.  Hair  slicked. 


"THE  BIG  MAN" 

1.  Inclined   to   stupidity  and 

unconscious  of  social  val- 
ues. 

2.  Thinks  dress  is  superficial, 

and  is  inclined  to  be  care- 
less about  it. 

3.  Goes    out    for    everything 

from  a  sense  of  duty. 

4.  Gets    to    college    and   has 

a  problematical  future. 
Feels  lost  without  his  cir- 
cle, and  always  says  that 
school  days  were  happiest, 
after  all.  Goes  back  to 
school  and  makes  speeches 
about  what  St.  Regis's 
boys  are  doing. 
<;.  Hair  not  slicked. 


Amory  had  decided   definitely   on   Princeton,   even 
though  he  would  be  the  only  boy  entering  that  year 


40  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

from  St.  Regis'.  Yale  had  a  romance  and  glamour  from 
the  tales  of  Minneapolis,  and  St.  Regis'  men  who  had 
been  "tapped  for  Skull  and  Bones,"  but  Princeton  drew 
him  most,  with  its  atmosphere  of  bright  colors  and  its 
alluring  reputation  as  the  pleasantest  country  club  in 
America.  Dwarfed  by  the  menacing  college  exams, 
Amory's  school  days  drifted  into  the  past.  Years  after- 
ward, when  he  went  back  to  St.  Regis',  he  seemed  to 
have  forgotten  the  successes  of  sixth-form  year,  and  to 
be  able  to  picture  himself  only  as  the  unadjustable  boy 
who  had  hurried  down  corridors,  jeered  at  by  his  rabid 
contemporaries  mad  with  common  sense. 


CHAPTER  II 
SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES 

AT  first  Amory  noticed  only  the  wealth  of  sunshine 
creeping  across  the  long,  green  swards,  dancing  on  the 
leaded  window-panes,  and  swimming  around  the  tops 
of  spires  and  towers  and  battlemented  walls.  Gradually 
he  realized  that  he  was  really  walking  up  University 
Place,  self-conscious  about  his  suitcase,  developing  a 
new  tendency  to  glare  straight  ahead  when  he  passed 
any  one.  Several  times  he  could  have  sworn  that  men 
turned  to  look  at  him  critically.  He  wondered  vaguely 
if  there  was  something  the  matter  with  his  clothes,  and 
wished  he  had  shaved  that  morning  on  the  train.  He 
felt  unnecessarily  stiff  and  awkward  among  these  white- 
flannelled,  bareheaded  youths,  who  must  be  juniors  and 
seniors,  judging  from  the  savoir  faire  with  which  they 
strolled. 

He  found  that  12  University  Place  was  a  large,  dilapi- 
dated mansion,  at  present  apparently  uninhabited, 
though  he  knew  it  housed  usually  a  dozen  freshmen. 
After  a  hurried  skirmish  with  his  landlady  he  sallied  out 
on  a  tour  of  exploration,  but  he  had  gone  scarcely  a  block 
when  he  became  horribly  conscious  that  he  must  be  the 
only  man  in  town  who  was  wearing  a  hat.  He  returned 
hurriedly  to  12  University,  left  his  derby,  and,  emerging 
bareheaded,  loitered  down  Nassau  Street,  stopping  to 
investigate  a  display  of  athletic  photographs  in  a  store 
window,  including  a  large  one  of  Allenby,  the  football 
captain,  and  next  attracted  by  the  sign  "Jigger  Shop" 
over  a  confectionary  window.  This  sounded  familiar, 
so  he  sauntered  in  and  took  a  seat  on  a  high  stool. 

41 


42  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Chocolate  sundae,"  he  told  a  colored  person. 

"Double  chocolate  jiggah?    Anything  else?" 

"Why— yes." 

"Bacon  bun?" 

"Why— yes." 

He  munched  four  of  these,  finding  them  of  pleasing 
savor,  and  then  consumed  another  double-chocolate 
jigger  before  ease  descended  upon  him.  After  a  cursory 
inspection  of  the  pillow-cases,  leather  pennants,  and 
Gibson  Girls  that  lined  the  walls,  he  left,  and  continued 
along  Nassau  Street  with  his  hands  in  his  pockets. 
Gradually  he  was  learning  to  distinguish  between  upper 
classmen  and  entering  men,  even  though  the  freshman 
cap  would  not  appear  until  the  following  Monday. 
Those  who  were  too  obviously,  too  nervously  at  home 
were  freshmen,  for  as  each  train  brought  a  new  contin- 
gent it  was  immediately  absorbed  into  the  hatless, 
white-shod,  book-laden  throng,  whose  function  seemed 
to  be  to  drift  endlessly  up  and  down  the  street,  emitting 
great  clouds  of  smoke  from  brand-new  pipes.  By  after- 
noon Amory  realized  that  now  the  newest  arrivals  were 
taking  him  for  an  upper  classman,  and  he  tried  conscien- 
tiously to  look  both  pleasantly  blase  and  casually  criti- 
cal, which  was  as  near  as  he  could  analyze  the  preva- 
lent facial  expression. 

At  five  o'clock  he  felt  the  need  of  hearing  his  own 
voice,  so  he  retreated  to  his  house  to  see  if  any  one  else 
had  arrived.  Having  climbed  the  rickety  stairs  he  scru- 
tinized his  room  resignedly,  concluding  that  it  was  hope- 
less to  attempt  any  more  inspired  decoration  than  class 
banners  and  tiger  pictures.  There  was  a  tap  at  the 
door. 

"Come  in!" 

A  slim  face  with  gray  eyes  and  a  humorous  smile 
appeared  in  the  doorway. 


43 

"Got  a  hammer?" 

"No — sorry.  Maybe  Mrs.  Twelve,  or  whatever  she 
goes  by,  has  one." 

The  stranger  advanced  into  the  room. 

"You  an  inmate  of  this  asylum?" 

Amory  nodded. 

"Awful  barn  for  the  rent  we  pay." 

Amory  had  to  agree  that  it  was. 

"I  thought  of  the  campus,"  he  said,  "but  they  say 
there's  so  few  freshmen  that  they're  lost.  Have  to  sit 
around  and  study  for  something  to  do." 

The  gray-eyed  man  decided  to  introduce  himself. 

"My  name's  Holiday." 

"Elaine's  my  name." 

They  shook  hands  with  the  fashionable  low  swoop. 
Amory  grinned. 

"Where'd  you  prep?" 

"Andover — where  did  you?" 

"SL  Regis's." 

"Oh,  did  you?    I  had  a  cousin  there." 

They  discussed  the  cousin  thoroughly,  and  then  Holi- 
day announced  that  he  was  to  meet  his  brother  for 
dinner  at  six. 

"Come  along  and  have  a  bite  with  us." 

"All  right." 

At  the  Kenilworth  Amory  met  Burne  Holiday — he  of 
the  gray  eyes  was  Kerry — and  during  a  limpid  meal  of 
thin  soup  and  anaemic  vegetables  they  stared  at  the 
other  freshmen,  who  sat  either  in  small  groups  looking 
very  ill  at  ease,  or  in  large  groups  seeming  very  much 
at  home. 

"I  hear  Commons  is  pretty  bad,"  said  Amory. 

"That's  the  rumor.  But  you've  got  to  eat  there — or 
pay  anyways." 

"Crime!" 


44  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Imposition!" 

"Oh,  at  Princeton  you've  got  to  swallow  everything 
the  first  year.  It's  like  a  damned  prep  school." 

Amory  agreed. 

"Lot  of  pep,  though,"  he  insisted.  "I  wouldn't  have 
gone  to  Yale  for  a  million." 

"Me  either." 

"You  going  out  for  anything?"  inquired  Amory  of 
the  elder  brother. 

"Not  me — Burne  here  is  going  out  for  the  Prince — 
the  Daily  Princetonian,  you  know." 

"Yes,  I  know." 

"You  going  out  for  anything?" 

"Why — yes.  I'm  going  to  take  a  whack  at  freshman 
football."  " 

"Play  at  St.  Regis's?" 

"Some,"  admitted  Amory  depreciatingly,  "but  I'm 
getting  so  damned  thin." 

"You're  not  thin." 

"Well,  I  used  to  be  stocky  last  fall." 

"Oh!" 

After  supper  they  attended  the  movies,  where  Amory 
was  fascinated  by  the  glib  comments  of  a  man  in  front 
of  him,  as  well  as  by  the  wild  yelling  and  shouting. 

"Yohol" 

"Oh,  honey-baby — you're  so  big  and  strong,  but  oh,  so 
gentle!" 

"Clinch!" 

"Oh,  Clinchr 

"Kiss  her,  kiss  'at  lady,  quick f" 

"Oh-h-h !" 

A  group  began  whistling  "By  the  Sea,"  and  the  audi- 
ence took  it  up  noisily.  This  was  followed  by  an  indis- 
tinguishable song  that  included  much  stamping  and 
then  by  an  endless,  incoherent  dirge. 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  45 

"Oh-h-h-h-h 

She  works  in  a  Jam  Factoree 
And — that-may-be-all-right 
But  you  can't-fool-me 
For  I  know— DAMN— WELL 
That  she  DONT-make- jam-all-night ! 
Oh-h-h-h!" 

As  they  pushed  out,  giving  and  receiving  curious  inv 
personal  glances,  Amory  decided  that  he  liked  the  mov- 
ies, wanted  to  enjoy  them  as  the  row  of  upper  classmen  in 
front  had  enjoyed  them,  with  their  arms  along  the  backs 
of  the  seats,  their  comments  Gaelic  and  caustic,  their  at- 
titude a  mixture  of  critical  wit  and  tolerant  amusement. 

"Want  a  sundae — I  mean  a  jigger?"  asked  Kerry. 

"Sure." 

They  suppered  heavily  and  then,  still  sauntering, 
eased  back  to  12. 

"Wonderful  night." 

"It's  a  whiz." 

"You  men  going  to  unpack?" 

"Guess  so.     Come  on,  Burne." 

Amory  decided  to  sit  for  a  while  on  the  front  steps,  so 
he  bade  them  good  night. 

The  great  tapestries  of  trees  had  darkened  to  ghosts 
back  at  the  last  edge  of  twilight.  The  early  moon  had 
drenched  the  arches  with  pale  blue,  and,  weaving  over 
the  night,  in  and  out  of  the  gossamer  rifts  of  moon, 
swept  a  song,  a  song  with  more  than  a  hint  of  sadness, 
infinitely  transient,  infinitely  regretful. 

He  remembered  that  an  alumnus  of  the  nineties  had 
told  him  of  one  of  Booth  Tarkington's  amusements: 
standing  in  mid-campus  in  the  small  hours  and  singing 
tenor  songs  to  the  stars,  arousing  mingled  emotions  in 
the  couched  undergraduates  according  to  the  sentiment 
of  their  moods. 


46  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Now,  far  down  the  shadowy  line  of  University  Place  a 
white-dad  phalanx  broke  the  gloom,  and  marching  fig- 
ures, white-shirted,  white-trousered,  swung  rhythmically 
up  the  street,  with  linked  arms  and  heads  thrown  back: 

"Going  back — going  back, 
Going — back — to — Nas-sau — Hall, 
Going  back — going  back — 
To  the— Best— Old— Place— of— All. 
Going  back — going  back, 
From  all — this — earth-ly — ball, 
We'll — clear — the — track — as — we — go — back — 
Going — back — to — Nas-sau — Hall !" 

Amory  dosed  his  eyes  as  the  ghostly  procession  drew 
near.  The  song  soared  so  high  that  all  dropped  out 
except  the  tenors,  who  bore  the  melody  triumphantly 
past  the  danger-point  and  relinquished  it  to  the  fantastic 
chorus.  Then  Amory  opened  his  eyes,  half  afraid  that 
sight  would  spoil  the  rich  illusion  of  harmony. 

He  sighed  eagerly.  There  at  the  head  of  the  white 
platoon  marched  Allenby,  the  football  captain,  slim  and 
defiant,  as  if  aware  that  this  year  the  hopes  of  the  col- 
lege rested  on  him,  that  his  hundred-and-sixty  pounds 
were  expected  to  dodge  to  victory  through  the  heavy 
blue  and  crimson  lines. 

Fascinated,  Amory  watched  each  rank  of  linked  arms 
as  it  came  abreast,  the  faces  indistinct  above  the  polo 
shirts,  the  voices  blent  in  a  paean  of  triumph — and  then 
the  procession  passed  through  shadowy  Campbell  Arch, 
and  the  vokes  grew  fainter  as  it  wound  eastward  over 
the  campus. 

The  minutes  passed  and  Amory  sat  there  very  quietly. 
He  regretted  the  rule  that  would  forbid  freshmen  to  be 
outdoors  after  curfew,  for  he  wanted  to  ramble  through 
the  shadowy  scented  lanes,  where  Witherspoon  brooded 
like  a  dark  mother  over  Whig  and  Clio,  her  Attic  chil- 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  47 

dren,  where  the  black  Gothic  snake  of  Little  curled  down 
to  Cwyler  and  Patton,  these  in  turn  flinging  the  mystery 
out  over  the  placid  slope  rolling  to  the  lake. 

Princeton  of  the  daytime  filtered  slowly  into  his  con- 
sciousness— West  and  Reunion,  redolent  of  the  sixties, 
Seventy-nine  Hall,  brick-red  and  arrogant,  Upper  and 
Lower  Pyne,  aristocratic  Elizabethan  ladies  not  quite 
content  to  live  among  shopkeepers,  and,  topping  all, 
climbing  with  clear  blue  aspiration,  the  great  dreaming 
spires  of  Holder  and  Cleveland  towers. 

From  the  first  he  loved  Princeton — its  lazy  beauty, 
its  half-grasped  significance,  the  wild  moonlight  revel  of 
the  rushes,  the  handsome,  prosperous  big-game  crowds, 
and  under  it  all  the  air  of  struggle  that  pervaded  his 
class.  From  the  day  when,  wild-eyed  and  exhausted, 
the  jerseyed  freshmen  sat  in  the  gymnasium  and  elected 
some  one  from  Hill  School  class  president,  a  Lawrence- 
ville  celebrity  vice-president,  a  hockey  star  from  St! 
Paul's  secretary,  up  until  the  end  of  sophomore  year  it 
never  ceased,  that  breathless  social  system,  that  wor- 
ship, seldom  named,  never  really  admitted,  of  the  bogey 
"Big  Man." 

First  it  was  schools,  and  Amory,  alone  from  St.  Regis', 
watched  the  crowds  form  and  widen  and  form  again; 
St.  Paul's,  Hill,  Pomfret,  eating  at  certain  tacitly  re- 
served tables  in  Commons,  dressing  in  their  own  corners 
of  the  gymnasium,  and  drawing  unconsciously  about 
them  a  barrier  of  the  slightly  less  important  but  socially 
ambitious  to  protect  them  from  the  friendly,  rather  puz- 
zled high-school  element.  From  the  moment  he  realized 
this  Amory  resented  social  barriers  as  artificial  distinc- 
tions mad€  by  the  strong  to  bolster  up  their  weak  retain- 
ers and  keep  out  the  almost  strong. 

Having  decided  to  be  one  of  the  gods  of  the  class,  he 


48  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

reported  for  freshman  football  practice,  but  in  the  sec- 
ond week,  playing  quarter-back,  already  paragraphed  in 
corners  of  the  Princetonian,  he  wrenched  his  knee  seri- 
ously enough  to  put  him  out  for  the  rest  of  the  season. 
This  forced  him  to  retire  and  consider  the  situation. 

11 1 2  Univee"  housed  a  dozen  miscellaneous  question- 
marks.  There  were  three  or  four  inconspicuous  and 
quite  startled  boys  from  Lawrenceville,  two  amateur 
wild  men  from  a  New  York  private  school  (Kerry  Holi- 
day christened  them  the  "plebeian  drunks"),  a  Jewish 
youth,  also  from  New  York,  and,  as  compensation  for 
Amory,  the  two  Holidays,  to  whom  he  took  an  instant 
fancy. 

The  Holidays  were  rumored  twins,  but  really  the 
dark-haired  one,  Kerry,  was  a  year  older  than  his  blond 
brother,  Burne.  Kerry  was  tall,  with  humorous  gray 
eyes,  and  a  sudden,  attractive  smile;  he  became  at  once 
the  mentor  of  the  house,  reaper  of  ears  that  grew  too 
high,  censor  of  conceit,  vendor  of  rare,  satirical  humor. 
Amory  spread  the  table  of  their  future  friendship  with 
all  his  ideas  of  what  college  should  and  did  mean. 
Kerry,  not  inclined  as  yet  to  take  things  seriously,  chided 
him  gently  for  being  curious  at  this  inopportune  time 
about  the  intricacies  of  the  social  system,  but  liked  him 
and  was  both  interested  and  amused. 

Burne,  fair-haired,  silent,  and  intent,  appeared  in  the 
house  only  as  a  busy  apparition,  gliding  in  quietly  at 
night  and  off  again  in  the  early  morning  to  get  up  his 
work  in  the  library — he  was  out  for  the  Princetonian, 
competing  furiously  against  forty  others  for  the  coveted 
first  place.  In  December  he  came  down  with  diphtheria, 
and  some  one  else  won  the  competition,  but,  returning 
to  college  in  February,  he  dauntlessly  went  after  the 
prize  again.  Necessarily,  Amory's  acquaintance  with 
him  was  in  the  way  of  three-minute  chats,  walking  to 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  49 

and  from  lectures,  so  he  failed  to  penetrate  Burne's  one 
absorbing  interest  and  find  what  lay  beneath  it. 

Amory  was  far  from  contented.  He  missed  the  place 
he  had  won  at  St.  Regis',  the  being  known  and  admired, 
yet  Princeton  stimulated  him,  and  there  were  many 
things  ahead  calculated  to  arouse  the  Machiavelli  latent 
in  him,  could  he  but  insert  a  wedge.  The  upper-class 
clubs,  concerning  which  he  had  pumped  a  reluctant 
graduate  during  the  previous  summer,  excited  his  curi- 
osity: Ivy,  detached  and  breathlessly  aristocratic;  Cot- 
tage, an  impressive  melange  of  brilliant  adventurers  and 
well-dressed  philanderers;  Tiger  Inn,  broad-shouldered 
and  athletic,  vitalized  by  an  honest  elaboration  of  prep- 
school  standards;  Cap  and  Gown,  anti-alcoholic,  faintly 
religious  and  politically  powerful;  flambuoyant  Col- 
onial; literary  Quadrangle;  and  the  dozen  others,  vary- 
ing in  age  and  position. 

Anything  which  brought  an  under  classman  into  too 
glaring  a  light  was  labelled  with  the  damning  brand  of 
"running  it  out."  The  movies  thrived  on  caustic  com- 
ments, but  the  men  who  made  them  were  generally  run- 
ning it  out;  talking  of  clubs  was  running  it  out;  standing 
for  anything  very  strongly,  as,  for  instance,  drinking 
parties  or  teto tailing,  was  running  it  out;  in  short,  being 
personally  conspicuous  was  not  tolerated,  and  the  influ- 
ential man  was  the  non-committal  man,  until  at  club 
elections  in  sophomore  year  every  one  should  be  sewed 
up  in  some  bag  for  the  rest  of  his  college  career. 

Amory  found  that  writing  for  the  Nassau  Literary 
Magazine  would  get  him  nothing,  but  that  being  on  the 
board  of  the  Daily  Princetonian  would  get  any  one  a 
good  deal.  His  vague  desire  to  do  immortal  acting  with 
the  English  Dramatic  Association  faded  out  when  he 
found  that  the  most  ingenious  brains  and  talents  were 
concentrated  upon  the  Triangle  Club,  a  musical  comedy 


5o  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARASIDE 

organization  that  every  year  took  a  great  Christmas 
trip.  In  the  meanwhile,  feeling  strangely  alone  and 
restless  in  Commons,  with  new  desires  and  ambitions 
stirring  in  his  mind,  he  let  the  first  term  go  by  between 
an  envy  of  the  embryo  successes  and  a  puzzled  fretting 
with  Kerry  as  to  why  they  were  not  accepted  immedi- 
ately among  the  elite  of  the  class. 

Many  afternoons  they  lounged  in  the  windows  of  12 
Univee  and  watched  the  class  pass  to  and  from  Com- 
mons, noting  satellites  already  attaching  themselves  to 
the  more  prominent,  watching  the  lonely  grind  with  his 
hurried  step  and  downcast  eye,  envying  the  happy  se- 
curity of  the  big  school  groups. 

"We're  the  damned  middle  class,  that's  what!"  he 
complained  to  Kerry  one  day  as  he  lay  stretched  out  on 
the  sofa,  consuming  a  family  of  Fatimas  with  contem- 
plative precision. 

"Well,  why  not?  We  came  to  Princeton  so  we  could 
feel  that  way  toward  the  small  colleges — have  it  on  'em, 
more  self-confidence,  dress  better,  cut  a  swathe " 

"Oh,  it  isn't  that  I  mind  the  glittering  caste  system/' 
admitted  Amory.  "I  like  having  a  bunch  of  hot  cats 
on  top,  but  gosh,  Kerry,  I've  got  to  be  one  of  them." 

"But  just  now,  Amory,  you're  only  a  sweaty  bour- 
geois." 

Amory  lay  for  a  moment  without  speaking. 

"I  won't  be— long,"  he  said  finally.  "But  I  hate  to 
get  anywhere  by  working  for  it  I'll  show  the  marks, 
don't  you  know." 

"Honorable  scars."  Kerry  craned  his  neck  suddenly 
at  the  street.  "There's  Langueduc,  if  you  want  to  see 
what  he  looks  like — and  Humbird  just  behind." 

Amory  rose  dynamically  and  sought  the  windows. 

"Oh,"  he  said,  scrutinizing  these  worthies,  "Humbird 
looks  like  a  knockout,  but  this  Langueduc — he's  the 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  51 

rugged  type,  isn't  he?  I  distrust  that  sort  All  dia- 
monds look  big  in  the  rough." 

"Well,"  said  Kerry,  as  the  excitement  subsided, 
" you're  a  literary  genius.  It's  up  to  you." 

"I  wonder" — Amory  paused — "if  I  could  be.  I  hon- 
estly think  so  sometimes.  That  sounds  like  the  devil, 
and  I  wouldn't  say  it  to  anybody  except  you." 

"Well — go  ahead.  Let  your  hair  grow  and  write 
poems  like  this  guy  D'Invilliers  in  the  Lit." 

Amory  reached  lazily  at  a  pile  of  magazines  on  the 
table. 

"Read  his  latest  effort?" 

"Never  miss  'em.    They're  rare." 

Amory  glanced  through  the  issue. 

"Hello!"  he  said  in  surprise,  "he's  a  freshman,  isn't 
he?" 

"Yeah." 

"Listen  to  this !    My  God ! 

"'A  serving  lady  speaks: 

Black  velvet  trails  its  folds  over  the  day, 
White  tapers,  prisoned  in  their  silver  frames, 
Wave  their  thin  flames  like  shadows  in  the  vrini, 
Pia,  Pompia,  come — come  away ' 

"Now,  what  the  devil  does  that  mean?" 
"It's  a  pantry  scene." 

"*  Her  toes  are  stiffened  like  a  stork's  in  flight; 
She's  laid  upon  her  bed,  on  the  white  sheets, 
Her  hands  pressed  on  her  smooth  bust  like  a  saint, 
Bella  Cunizza,  come  into  the  light!' 

"My  gosh,  Kerry,  what  in  hell  is  it  all  about?  I 
swear  I  don't  get  him  at  all,  and  I'm  a  literary  bird 
myself." 

"It's  pretty  tricky,"  said  Kerry,  "only  you've  got 


52  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

to  think  of  hearses  and  stale  milk  when  you  read  it. 
That  isn't  as  pash  as  some  of  them." 

Amory  tossed  the  magazine  on  the  table. 

"Well,"  he  sighed,  "I  sure  am  up  in  the  air.  I  know 
I'm  not  a  regular  fellow,  yet  I  loathe  anybody  else  that 
isn't.  I  can't  decide  whether  to  cultivate  my  mind  and 
be  a  great  dramatist,  or  to  thumb  my  nose  at  the  Golden 
Treasury  and  be  a  Princeton  slicker." 

"Why  decide?"  suggested  Kerry.  "Better  drift,  like 
me.  I'm  going  to  sail  into  prominence  on  Burne's  coat- 
tails." 

"I  can't  drift — I  want  to  be  interested.  I  want  to 
pull  strings,  even  for  somebody  else,  or  be  Princetonian 
chairman  or  Triangle  president.  I  want  to  be  admired, 
Kerry." 

"You're  thinking  too  much  about  yourself." 

Amory  sat  up  at  this. 

"No.  I'm  thinking  about  you,  too.  We've  got  to 
get  out  and  mix  around  the  class  right  now,  when  it's 
fun  to  be  a  snob.  I'd  like  to  bring  a  sardine  to  the  prom 
in  June,  for  instance,  but  I  wouldn't  do  it  unless  I  could 
be  damn  debonaire  about  it — introduce  her  to  all  the 
prize  parlor-snakes,  and  the  football  captain,  and  all 
that  simple  stuff." 

"Amory,"  said  Kerry  impatiently,  "you're  just  going 
around  in  a  circle.  If  you  want  to  be  prominent,  get 
out  and  try  for  something;  if  you  don't,  just  take  it 
easy."  He  yawned.  "Come  on,  let's  let  the  smoke 
drift  off.  We'll  go  down  and  watch  football  practice." 

Amory  gradually  accepted  this  point  of  view,  decided 
that  next  fall  would  inaugurate  his  career,  and  relin- 
quished himself  to  watching  Kerry  extract  joy  from 
12  Univee. 

They  filled  the  Jewish  youth's  bed  with  lemon  pie; 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  51 

they  put  out  the  gas  all  over  the  house  every  night  by 
blowing  into  the  jet  in  Amory's  room,  to  the  bewilder-^ 
ment  of  Mrs.  Twelve  and  the  local  plumber;  they  set  up 
the  effects  of  the  plebeian  drunks — pictures,  books,  and 
furniture — in  the  bathroom,  to  the  confusion  of  the  pair, 
who  hazily  discovered  the  transposition  on  their  return 
from  a  Trenton  spree;  they  were  disappointed  beyond 
measure  when  the  plebeian  drunks  decided  to  take  it  as 
a  joke;  they  played  red-dog  and  twenty-one  and  jack- 
pot from  cQiiner  to  dawn,  and  on  the  occasion  of  one 
man's  birthday  persuaded  htm  to  buy  sufficient  cham- 
pagne for  a  hilarious  celebration.  The  donor  of  the 
party  having  remained  sober,  Kerry  and  Amory  acci- 
dentiy  dropped  him  down  two  flights  of  stairs  and 
called,  shame-faced  and  penitent,  at  the  infirmary  all 
the  following  week. 

"Say,  who  are  all  these  women?"  demanded  Kerry 
one  day,  protesting  at  the  size  of  Amory's  mail.  "I've 
been  looking  at  the  postmarks  lately — Farmington  and 
Dobbs  and  Westover  and  Dana  Hall — what's  the  idea?  " 

Amory  grinned. 

"All  from  the  Twin  Cities."  He  named  them  off. 
"There's  Marylyn  De  Witt — she's  pretty,  got  a  car  of 
her  own  and  that's  damn  convenient;  there's  Sally 
Weatherby — she's  getting  too  fat;  there's  Myra  St. 
Cla^e,  she's  an  old  flame,  easy  to  kiss  if  you  like 
it— 

"What  line  do  you  throw  'em?"  demanded  Kerry. 
"I've  tried  everything,  and  the  mad  wags  aren't  even 
afraid  of  me." 

"You're  the  'nice  boy*  type,"  suggested  Amory. 

"That's  just  it.  Mother  always  feels  the  girl  is  safe 
if  she's  with  me.  Honestly,  it's  annoying.  If  I  start 
to  hold  somebody's  hand,  they  laugh  at  me,  and  let  me, 
just  as  if  it  wasn't  part  of  them.  As  soon  as  I  get  hold 


54  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

of  a  hand  they  sort  of  disconnect  it  from  the  rest  of 
them." 

"Sulk,"  suggested  Amory.  "Tell  'em  you're  wild 
and  have  'em  reform  you — go  home  furious — come  back 
in  half  an  hour — startle  'em." 

Kerry  shook  his  head. 

"No  chance.  I  wrote  a  St.  Timothy  girl  a  really 
loving  letter  last  year.  In  one  place  I  got  rattled  and 
said:  'My  God,  how  I  love  you !'  She  took  a  nail  scis- 
sors, clipped  out  the  'My  God'  and  showed  the  rest  of 
the  letter  all  over  school.  Doesn't  work  at  all.  I'm 
just  'good  old  Kerry'  and  all  that  rot." 

Amory  smiled  and  tried  to  picture  himself  as  "good 
old  Amory."  He  failed  completely. 

February  dripped  snow  and  rain,  the  cyclonic  fresh- 
man mid-years  passed,  and  life  in  12  Univee  con- 
tinued interesting  if  not  purposeful.  Once  a  day  Amory 
indulged  in  a  club  sandwich,  cornflakes,  and  Julienne 
potatoes  at  "Joe's,"  accompawed  usually  by  Kerry  or 
Alec  Connage.  The  latter  was  a  quiet,  rather  aloof 
slicker  from  Hotchkiss,  who  lived  next  door  and  shared 
the  same  enforced  singleness  as  Amory,  due  to  the  fact 
that  his  entire  class  had  gone  to  Yale.  "Joe's"  was 
unaesthetic  and  faintly  unsanitary,  but  a  limitless  charge 
account  could  be  opened  there,  a  convenience  that 
Amory  appreciated.  His  father  had  been  experin  nt- 
ing  with  mining  stocks  and,  in  consequence,  his  allow- 
ance, while  liberal,  was  not  at  all  what  he  had  expected. 

"Joe's"  had  the  additional  advantage  of  seclusion 
from  curious  upper-class  eyes,  so  at  four  each  afternoon 
Amory,  accompanied  by  friend  or  book,  went  up  to 
experiment  with  his  digestion.  One  day  in  March,  find- 
ing that  all  the  tables  were  occupied,  he  slipped  into  a 
chair  opposite  a  freshman  who  bent  intently  over  a 
book  at  the  last  table.  They  nodded  briefly.  For 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  55 

twenty  minutes  Amory  sat  consuming  bacon  buns  and 
reading  "Mrs.  Warren's  Profession"  (he  had  discovered 
Shaw  quite  by  accident  whfle  browsing  in  the  library 
during  mid-years);  the  other  freshman,  also  intent  on 
his  volume,  meanwhile  did  away  with  a  trio  of  choco- 
late malted  milks. 

By  and  by  Amory's  eyes  wandered  curiously  to  his 
fellow-luncher's  book.  He  spelled  out  the  name  and 
title  upside  down — "Marpessa,"  by  Stephen  Phillips. 
This  meant  nothing  to  him,  his  metrical  education  hav- 
ing been  confined  to  such  Sunday  classics  as  "  Come  into 
the  Garden,  Maude,"  and  what  morsels  of  Shakespeare 
and  Milton  had  been  recently  forced  upon  him. 

Moved  to  address  his  vis-a-vis,  he  simulated  interest 
in  his  book  for  a  moment,  and  then  exclaimed  aloud  as 
if  involuntarily: 

"Ha!    Great  stuff!" 

The  other  freshman  looked  up  and  Amory  registered 
artificial  embarrassment. 

"Are  you  referring  to  your  bacon  buns?"  His 
cracked,  kindly  voice  went  well  with  the  large  spectacles 
and  the  impression  of  a  voluminous  keenness  that  he 
gave. 

"  No,"  Amory  answered.  "  I  was  referring  to  B ernard 
Shaw."  He  turned  the  book  around  in  explanation. 

"I've  never  read  any  Shaw.  I've  always  meant  to." 
The  boy  paused  and  then  continued:  "Did  you  ever  read 
Stephen  Phillips,  or  do  you  like  poetry?" 

"Yes,  indeed,"  Amory  affirmed  eagerly.  "I've  never 
read  much  of  Phillips,  though."  (He  had  never  heard 
of  any  Phillips  except  the  late  David  Graham.) 

" It's  pretty  fair,  I  think.  Of  course  he's  a  Victorian." 
They  sallied  into  a  discussion  of  poetry,  in  the  course  of 
which  they  introduced  themselves,  and  Amory's  com- 
panion proved  to  be  none  other  than  "  that  awful  high- 


56  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

brow,  Thomas  Parke  DTnvilliers,"  who  signed  the  pas- 
sionate love-poems  in  the  Lit.  He  was,  perhaps,  nine- 
teen, with  stooped  shoulders,  pale  blue  eyes,  and,  as 
Amory  could  tell  from  his  general  appearance,  without 
much  conception  of  social  competition  and  such  phe- 
nomena of  absorbing  interest.  Still,  he  liked  books,  and 
it  seemed  forever  since  Amory  had  met  any  one  who 
did;  if  only  that  St.  Paul's  crowd  at  the  next  table  would 
not  mistake  him  for  a  bird,  too,  he  would  enjoy  the 
encounter  tremendously.  They  didn't  seem  to  be  notic- 
ing, so  he  let  himself  go,  discussed  books  by  the  dozens 
— books  he  had  read,  read  about,  books  he  had  never 
heard  of,  rattling  off  lists  of  titles  with  the  facility  of  a 
Brentano's  clerk.  D'Invilliers  was  partially  taken  in 
and  wholly  delighted.  In  a  good-natured  way  he  had 
almost  decided  that  Princeton  was  one  part  deadly  Phi- 
listines and  one  part  deadly  grinds,  and  to  find  a  person 
who  could  mention  Keats  without  stammering,  yet  evi- 
dently washed  his  hands,  was  rather  a  treat. 

"Ever  read  any  Oscar  Wilde?"  he  asked. 

"No.    Who  wrote  it?" 

"It's  a  man — don't  you  know?" 

"Oh,  surely."  A  faint  chord  was  struck  in  Amory's 
memory.  "Wasn't  the  comic  opera,  'Patience,'  written 
about  him?" 

"Yes,  that's  the  fella.  I've  just  finished  a  book  of 
his,  'The  Picture  of  Dorian  Gray,'  and  I  certainly  wish 
you'd  read  it.  You'd  like  it  You  can  borrow  it  if  you 
want  to." 

"Why,  I'd  like  it  a  lot— thanks." 

"Don't  you  want  to  come  up  to  the  room?  I've  got 
a  few  other  books." 

Amory  hesitated,  glanced  at  the  St.  Paul's  group — 
one  of  them  was  the  magnificent,  exquisite  Humbird— 
and  he  considered  how  determinate  the  addition  of  this 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  57 

friend  would  be.  He  never  got  to  the  stage  of  making 
them  and  getting  rid  of  them — he  was  not  hard  enough 
for  that — so  he  measured  Thomas  Parke  D'Invilliers' 
undoubted  attractions  and  value  against  the  menace  of 
cold  eyes  behind  tortoise-rimmed  spectacles  that  he  fan- 
cied glared  from  the  next  table. 

"Yes,  I'll  go." 

So  he  found  "Dorian  Gray"  and  the  "Mystic  and 
Somber  Dolores"  and  the  "Belle  Dame  sans  Merci";  for 
a  month  was  keen  on  naught  else.  The  world  became 
pale  and  interesting,  and  he  tried  hard  to  look  at  Prince- 
ton through  the  satiated  eyes  of  Oscar  Wilde  and  Swin- 
burne—or "Fingal  O'Flaherty "  and  "Algernon  Charles," 
as  he  called  them  in  precieuse  jest.  He  read  enormously 
every  night — Shaw,  Chesterton,  Barrie,  Pinero,  Yeats, 
Synge,  Ernest  Dowson,  Arthur  Symons,  Keats,  Suder- 
mann,  Robert  Hugh  Benson,  the  Savoy  Operas — just  a 
heterogeneous  mixture,  for  he  suddenly  discovered  that 
he  had  read  nothing  for  years. 

Tom  DTnvilliers  became  at  first  an  occasion  rather 
than  a  friend.  Amory  saw  him  about  once  a  week,  and 
together  they  gilded  the  ceiling  of  Tom's  room  and  deco- 
rated the  walls  with  imitation  tapestry,  bought  at  an 
auction,  tall  candlesticks  and  figured  curtains.  Amory 
liked  him  for  being  clever  and  literary  without  effemi- 
nacy or  affectation.  In  fact,  Amory  did  most  of  the 
strutting  and  tried  painfully  to  make  every  remark  an 
epigram,  than  which,  if  one  is  content  with  ostensible 
epigrams,  there  are  many  feats  harder.  12  Univee  was 
amused.  Kerry  read  "Dorian  Gray"  and  simulated 
Lord  Henry,  following  Amory  about,  addressing  him 
as  "Dorian"  and  pretending  to  encourage  in  him 
wicked  fancies  and  attenuated  tendencies  to  ennui. 
When  he  carried  it  into  commons,  to  the  amazement 
of  the  others  at  table,  Amory  became  furiously  embar' 


58  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

rassed,  and  after  that  made  epigrams  only  before  D'ln- 
villiers  or  a  convenient  mirror. 

One  day  Tom  and  Amory  tried  reciting  their  own  and 
Lord  Dunsany's  poems  to  the  music  of  Kerry's  grapho- 
phone. 

"  Chant ! "  cried  Tom.    "Don't  recite !    Chant  I " 

Amory,  who  was  performing,  looked  annoyed,  and 
claimed  that  he  needed  a  record  with  less  piano  in  it. 
Kerry  thereupon  rolled  on  the  floor  in  stifled  laughter. 

"Put  on  'Hearts  and  Flowers'!"  he  howled.  "Oh, 
my  Lord,  I'm  going  to  cast  a  kitten." 

"Shut  off  the  damn  graphophone,"  Amory  cried, 
rather  red  in  the  face.  "I'm  not  giving  an  exhibition." 

In  the  meanwhile  Amory  delicately  kept  trying  to 
awaken  a  sense  of  the  social  system  in  D'Invilliers,  for 
he  knew  that  this  poet  was  really  more  conventional 
than  he,  and  needed  merely  watered  hair,  a  smaller  range 
of  conversation,  and  a  darker  brown  hat  to  become  oolite 
regular.  But  the  liturgy  of  Livingstone  collars  and 
dark  ties  fell  on  heedless  ears;  in  fact  D'lnvilliers  faintly 
resented  his  efforts;  so  Amory  confined  himself  to  calls 
once  a  week,  and  brought  him  occasionally  to  12  Uni- 
vee.  This  caused  mfld  titters  among  the  other  fresh- 
men, who  called  them  "Doctor  Johnson  and  Boswell." 

Alec  Connage,  another  frequent  visitor,  liked  him  in 
a  vague  way,  but  was  afraid  of  h"n  as  a  highbrow. 
Kerry,  who  saw  through  his  poetic  patter  to  the  solid, 
almost  respectable  depths  within,  was  immensely 
amused  and  would  have  him  recite  poetry  by  the  hour, 
while  he  lay  with  closed  eyes  on  Amory's  sofa  and  lis- 
tened: 

" Asleep  or  waking  is  it?  for  her  neck 
Kissed  over  close,  wears  yet  a  purple  speck 
Wherein  the  pained  blood  falters  and  goes  out ; 
Soft  and  stung  softly — fairer  for  a  fleck  ..." 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  59 

"That's  good,"  Kerry  would  say  softly.  "It  pleases 
the  elder  Holiday.  That's  a  great  poet,  I  guess."  Tom, 
delighted  at  an  audience,  would  ramble  through  the 
"Poems  and  Ballades"  until  Kerry  and  Amory  knew 
them  almost  as  well  as  he. 

Amory  took  to  writing  poetry  on  spring  afternoons, 
in  the  gardens  of  the  big  estates  near  Princeton,  while 
swans  made  effective  atmosphere  in  the  artificial  pools, 
and  slow  clouds  sailed  harmoniously  above  the  willows. 
May  came  too  soon,  and  suddenly  unable  to  bear  walls, 
he  wandered  the  campus  at  all  hours  through  starlight 
and  rain. 

A  DAMP  SYMBOLIC  INTERLUDE 

The  night  mist  fell.  From  the  moon  it  rolled,  clus- 
tered about  the  spires  and  towers,  and  then  settled 
below  them,  so  that  the  dreaming  peaks  were  still  in 
lofty  aspiration  toward  the  sky.  Figures  that  dotted 
the  day  like  ants  now  brushed  along  as  shadowy  ghosts, 
in  and  out  of  the  foreground.  The  Gothic  halls  and 
cloisters  were  infinitely  more  mysterious  as  they  loomed 
suddenly  out  of  the  darkness,  outlined  each  by  myriad 
faint  squares  of  yellow  light.  Indefinitely  from  some- 
where a  bell  boomed  the  quarter-hour,  and  Amory, 
pausing  by  the  sun-dial,  stretched  himself  out  full  length 
on  the  damp  grass.  The  cool  bathed  his  eyes  and 
slowed  the  flight  of  time — time  that  had  crept  so  insidi- 
ously through  the  lazy  April  afternoons,  seemed  so  in- 
tangible in  the  long  spring  twilights.  Evening  after 
evening  the  senior  singing  had  drifted  over  the  campus 
in  melancholy  beauty,  and  through  the  shell  of  his 
undergraduate  consciousness  had  broken  a  deep  and 
reverent  devotion  to  the  gray  walls  and  Gothic  peaks 
and  all  they  symbolized  as  warehouses  of  dead  ages. 

The  tower  that  in  view  of  his  window  sprang  upward, 


60  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

grew  into  a  spire,  yearning  higher  until  its  uppermost 
tip  was  half  invisible  against  the  morning  skies,  gave 
him  the  first  sense  of  the  transiency  and  unimportance 
of  the  campus  figures  except  as  holders  of  the  apostolic 
succession.  He  liked  knowing  that  Gothic  architecture, 
with  its  upward  trend,  was  peculiarly  appropriate  to 
universities,  and  the  idea  became  personal  to  him.  The 
silent  stretches  of  green,  the  quiet  halls  with  an  occa- 
sional late-burning  scholastic  light  held  his  imagination 
in  a  strong  grasp,  and  the  chastity  of  the  spire  became 
a  symbol  of  this  perception. 

"Damn  it  all,"  he  whispered  aloud,  wetting  his  hands 
in  the  damp  and  running  them  through  his  hair.  "Next 
year  I  work !"  Yet  he  knew  that  where  now  the  spirit 
of  spires  and  towers  made  him  dreamily  acquiescent,  it 
would  then  overawe  him.  Where  now  he  realized  only 
his  own  inconsequence,  effort  would  make  him  aware 
of  his  own  impotency  and  insufficiency. 

The  college  dreamed  on — awake.  He  felt  a  nervous 
excitement  that  might  have  been  the  very  throb  of  its 
slow  heart.  It  was  a  stream  where  he  was  to  throw  a 
stone  whose  faint  ripple  would  be  vanishing  almost  as 
it  left  his  hand.  As  yet  he  had  given  nothing,  he  had 
taken  nothing. 

A  belated  freshman,  his  oilskin  slicker  rasping  loudly, 
slushed  along  the  soft  path.  A  voice  from  somewhere 
called  the  inevitable  formula,  "Stick  out  your  head!" 
below  an  unseen  window.  A  hundred  little  sounds  of 
the  current  drifting  on  under  the  fog  pressed  in  finally 
on  his  consciousness. 

"Oh,  God!"  he  cried  suddenly,  and  started  at  the 
sound  of  his  voice  in  the  stillness.  The  rain  dripped 
on.  A  minute  longer  he  lay  without  moving,  his  hands 
clinched.  Then  he  sprang  to  his  feet  and  gave  his 
clothes  a  tentative  pat. 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  61 

"I'm  very  damn  wet!"  he  said  aloud  to  the  sun- 
dial. 

HISTORICAL 

The  war  began  in  the  summer  following  his  freshman 
year.  Beyond  a  sporting  interest  in  the  German  dash 
for  Paris  the  whole  affair  failed  either  to  thrill  or  interest 
him.  With  the  attitude  he  might  have  held  toward  an 
'amusing  melodrama  he  hoped  it  would  be  long  and 
bloody.  If  it  had  not  continued  he  would  have  felt  like 
an  irate  ticket-holder  at  a  prize-fight  where  the  princi- 
pals refused  to  mix  it  up. 

That  was  his  total  reaction. 

"HA-HA  HORTENSE!" 

"All  right,  ponies/" 

"Shake  it  up!" 

"Hey,  ponies — how  about  easing  up  on  that  crap 
game  and  shaking  a  mean  hip?" 

"Hey,  ponies/" 

The  coach  fumed  helplessly,  the  Triangle  Club  presi- 
dent, glowering  with  anxiety,  varied  between  furious 
bursts  of  authority  and  fits  of  temperamental  lassitude, 
when  he  sat  spiritless  and  wondered  how  the  devil  the 
show  was  ever  going  on  tour  by  Christmas. 

"All  right.    We'll  take  the  pirate  song." 

The  ponies  took  last  drags  at  their  cigarettes  and 
slumped  into  place;  the  leading  lady  rushed  into  the 
foreground,  setting  his  hands  and  feet  in  an  atmospheric 
mince;  and  as  the  coach  clapped  and  stamped  and 
tumped  and  da-da'd,  they  hashed  out  a  dance. 

A  great,  seething  ant-hill  was  the  Triangle  Club.  It 
gave  a  musical  comedy  every  year,  travelling  with  cast, 
chorus,  orchestra,  and  scenery  all  through  Christmas 


62  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

vacation.  The  play  and  music  were  the  work  of  under- 
graduates, and  the  club  itself  was  the  most  influential  of 
institutions,  over  three  hundred  men  competing  for  it 
every  year. 

Amory,  after  an  easy  victory  in  the  first  sopho- 
more Princetonian  competition,  stepped  into  a  vacancy 
of  the  cast  as  Boiling  Oil,  a  Pirate  Lieutenant.  Every 
night  for  the  last  week  they  had  rehearsed  "Ha-Ha 
Hortense!"  in  the  Casino,  from  two  in  the  afternoon 
until  eight  in  the  morning,  sustained  by  dark  and  pow- 
erful coffee,  and  sleeping  in  lectures  through  the  interim. 
A  rare  scene,  the  Casino.  A  big,  barnlike  auditorium, 
dotted  with  boys  as  girls,  boys  as  pirates,  boys  as  babies; 
the  scenery  in  course  of  being  violently  set  up;  the  spot- 
light man  rehearsing  by  throwing  weird  shafts  into 
angry  eyes;  over  all  the  constant  tuning  of  the  orchestra 
or  the  cheerful  tumpty-tump  of  a  Triangle  tune.  The 
boy  who  writes  the  lyrics  stands  in  the  corner,  biting  a 
pencil,  with  twenty  minutes  to  think  of  an  encore;  the 
business  manager  argues  with  the  secretary  as  to  how 
much  money  can  be  spent  on  "those  damn  milkmaid 
costumes";  the  old  graduate,  president  in  ninety-eight, 
perches  on  a  box  and  thinks  how  much  simpler  it  was 
in  his  day. 

How  a  Triangle  show  ever  got  off  was  a  mystery,  but 
it  was  a  riotous  mystery,  anyway,  whether  or  not  one 
did  enough  service  to  wear  a  little  gold  Triangle  on  his 
watch-chain.  "Ha-Ha  Hortense !"  was  written  over  six 
times  and  had  the  names  of  nine  collaborators  on  the 
programme.  All  Triangle  shows  started  by  being 
"something  different — not  just  a  regular  musical  com- 
edy," but  when  the  several  authors,  the  president,  the 
coach  and  the  faculty  committee  finished  with  it,  there 
remained  just  the  old  reliable  Triangle  show  with  the 
old  reliable  jokes  and  the  star  comedian  who  got  ex- 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  63 

pelled  or  sick  or  something  just  before  the  trip,  and  the 
dark- whiskered  man  in  the  pony-ballet,  who  "  absolutely 
won't  shave  twice  a  day,  dog-gone  it ! " 

There  was  one  brilliant  place  in  "Ha-Ha  Hortense!" 
It  is  a  Princeton  tradition  that  whenever  a  Yale  man 
who  is  a  member  of  the  widely  advertised  "Skull  and 
Bones"  hears  the  sacred  name  mentioned,  he  must  leave 
the  room.  It  is  also  a  tradition  that  the  members  are 
invariably  successful  in  later  life,  amassing  fortunes  or 
votes  or  coupons  or  whatever  they  choose  to  amass. 
Therefore,  at  each  performance  of  "Ha-Ha  Hortense!" 
half-a-dozen  seats  were  kept  from  sale  and  occupied  by 
six  of  the  worst-looking  vagabonds  that  could  be  hired 
from  the  streets,  further  touched  up  by  the  Triangle 
make-up  man.  At  the  moment  in  the  show  where 
Firebrand,  the  Pirate  ChieJ,  pointed  at  his  black  flag  and 
said,  "I  am  a  Yale  graduate — note  my  Skull  and  Bones ! " 
— at  this  very  moment  the  six  vagabonds  were  instructed 
to  rise  conspicuously  and  leave  the  theatre  with  looks  of 
deep  melancholy  and  an  injured  dignity.  It  was  claimed 
though  never  proved  that  on  one  occasion  the  hired 
Elis  were  swelled  by  one  of  the  real  thing. 

They  played  through  vacation  to  the  fashionable  of 
eight  cities.  Amory  liked  Louisville  and  Memphis  best: 
these  knew  how  to  meet  strangers,  furnished  extraordi- 
nary punch,  and  flaunted  an  astonishing  array  of  femi- 
nine beauty.  Chicago  he  approved  for  a  certain  verve 
that  transcended  its  loud  accent — however,  it  was  a 
Yale  town,  and  as  the  Yale  Glee  Club  was  expected 
in  a  week  the  Triangle  received  only  divided  homage. 
In  Baltimore,  Princeton  was  at  home,  and  every  one  fell 
in  love.  There  was  a  proper  consumption  of  strong 
waters  all  along  the  line;  one  man  invariably  went  on 
the  stage  iiighly  stimulated,  claiming  that  his  particular 
interpretation  of  the  part  required  it.  There  were  three 


64  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

private  cars;  however,  no  one  slept  except  in  the  third 
car,  which  was  called  the  "animal  car,"  and  where  were 
herded  the  spectacled  wind-jammers  of  the  orchestra. 
Everything  was  so  hurried  that  there  was  no  time  to  be 
bored,  but  when  they  arrived  in  Philadelphia,  with  vaca- 
tion nearly  over,  there  was  rest  in  getting  out  of  the 
heavy  atmosphere  of  flowers  and  grease-paint,  and  the 
ponies  took  off  their  corsets  with  abdominal  pains  and 
sighs  of  relief. 

When  the  disbanding  came,  Amory  set  out  post- 
haste for  Minneapolis,  for  Sally  Weatherby's  cousin, 
Isabelle  Borge,  was  coming  to  spend  the  winter  in  Min- 
neapolis while  her  parents  went  abroad.  He  remem- 
bered Isabelle  only  as  a  little  girl  with  whom  he  had 
played  sometimes  when  he  first  went  to  Minneapolis. 
She  had  gone  to  Baltimore  to  live — but  since  then  she 
had  developed  a  past 

Amory  was  in  full  stride,  confident,  nervous,  and 
jubilant.  Scurrying  back  to  Minneapolis  to  see  a  girl 
he  had  known  as  a  child  seemed  the  interesting  and 
romantic  thing  to  do,  so  without  compunction  he  wired 
his  mother  not  to  expect  him  .  .  .  sat  in  the  train,  and 
thought  about  himself  for  thirty-six  hours. 

"PETTING" 

On  the  Triangle  trip  Amory  had  come  into  constant 
contact  with  that  great  current  American  phenomenon, 
the  "petting  party." 

None  of  the  Victorian  mothers — and  most  of  the 
mothers  were  Victorian — had  any  idea  how  casually 
their  daughters  were  accustomed  to  be  kissed.  "Servant- 
girls  are  that  way,"  says  Mrs.  Huston-Carmelite  to  her 
popular  daughter.  "They  are  kissed  first  and  proposed 
to  afterward." 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  65 

But  the  Popular  Daughter  becomes  engaged  every 
six  months  between  sixteen  and  twenty-two,  when  she 
arranges  a  match  with  young  Hambell,  of  Cambell  & 
Hambell,  who  fatuously  considers  himself  her  first  love, 
and  between  engagements  the  P.  D.  (she  is  selected  by 
the  cut-in  system  at  dances,  which  favors  the  survival 
of  the  fittest)  has  other  sentimental  last  kisses  in  the 
moonlight,  or  the  firelight,  or  the  outer  darkness. 

Amory  saw  girls  doing  things  that  even  in  his  mem- 
ory would  have  been  impossible:  eating  three-o'clock, 
after-dance  suppers  in  impossible  cafes,  talking  of  every 
side  of  life  with  an  air  half  of  earnestness,  half  of  mock- 
ery, yet  with  a  furtive  excitement  that  Amory  consid- 
ered stood  for  a  real  moral  let-down.  But  he  never 
realized  how  wide-spread  it  was  until  he  saw  the  cities 
between  New  York  and  Chicago  as  one  vast  juvenile 
intrigue. 

Afternoon  at  the  Plaza,  with  winter  twilight  hovering 
outside  and  faint  drums  down-stairs  .  .  .  they  strut  and 
fret  in  the  lobby,  taking  another  cocktail,  scrupulously 
attired  and  waiting.  Then  the  swinging  doors  revolve 
and  three  bundles  of  fur  mince  in.  The  theatre  comes 
afterward;  then  a  table  at  the  Midnight  Frolic — of 
course,  mother  will  be  along  there,  but  she  will  serve 
only  to  make  things  more  secretive  and  brilliant  as  she 
sits  in  solitary  state  at  the  deserted  table  and  thinks 
such  entertainments  as  this  are  not  half  so  bad  as  they 
are  painted,  only  rather  wearying.  But  the  P.  D.  is  in 
love  again  ...  it  was  odd,  wasn't  it? — that  though 
there  was  so  much  room  left  in  the  taxi  the  P.  D.  and 
the  boy  from  Williams  were  somehow  crowded  out  and 
had  to  go  in  a  separate  car.  Odd !  Didn't  you  notice 
how  flushed  the  P.  D.  was  when  she  arrived  just  seven 
minutes  late?  But  the  P.  D.  "gets  away  with  it." 

The  "belle"  had  become  the  "flirt,"  the  "flirt"  had 


66  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

become  the  "baby  vamp."  The  "belle"  had  five  or 
six  callers  every  afternoon.  If  the  P.  D.,  by  some 
strange  accident,  has  two,  it  is  made  pretty  uncomfort- 
able for  the  one  who  hasn't  a  date  with  her.  The 
"belle"  was  surrounded  by  a  dozen  men  in  the  in- 
termissions between  dances.  Try  to  find  the  P.  D. 
between  dances,  just  try  to  find  her. 

The  same  girl  .  .  .  deep  in  an  atmosphere  of  jungle 
music  and  the  questioning  of  moral  codes.  Amory  found 
it  rather  fascinating  to  feel  that  any  popular  girl  he  met 
before  eight  he  might  quite  possibly  kiss  before  twelve. 

"Why  on  earth  are  we  here?"  he  asked  the  girl  with 
the  green  combs  one  night  as  they  sat  in  some  one's 
limousine,  outside  the  Country  Club  in  Louisville. 

"I  don't  know.     I'm  just  full  of  the  devil." 

"Let's  be  frank — we'll  never  see  each  other  again. 
I  wanted  to  come  out  here  with  you  because  I  thought 
you  were  the  best-looking  girl  in  sight.  You  really 
don't  care  whether  you  ever  see  me  again,  do  you?" 

"No — but  is  this  your  line  for  every  girl?  What 
have  I  done  to  deserve  it?  " 

"And  you  didn't  feel  tired  dancing  or  want  a  cigarette 
or  any  of  the  things  you  said?  You  just  wanted  to 

"Oh,  let's  go  in,"  she  interrupted,  "if  you  want  to 
analyze.  Let's  not  talk  about  it." 

When  the  hand-knit,  sleeveless  jerseys  were  stylish, 
Amory,  in  a  burst  of  inspiration,  named  them  "petting 
shirts."  The  name  travelled  from  coast  to  coast  on  the 
lips  of  parlor-snakes  and  P.  D.'s. 

DESCRIPTIVE 

Amory  was  now  eighteen  years  old,  just  under  six 
feet  tall  and  exceptionally,  but  not  conventionally, 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  67 

handsome.  He  had  rather  a  young  face,  the  ingenuous- 
ness of  which  was  marred  by  the  penetrating  green  eyes, 
fringed  with  long  dark  eyelashes.  He  lacked  somehow 
that  intense  animal  magnetism  that  so  often  accom- 
panies beauty  in  men  or  women;  his  personality  seemed 
rather  a  mental  thing,  and  it  was  not  in  his  power  to 
turn  it  on  and  off  like  a  water-faucet.  But  people  never 
forgot  his  face. 

ISABELLE 

She  paused  at  the  top  of  the  staircase.  The  sensa- 
tions attributed  to  divers  on  spring-boards,  leading 
ladies  on  opening  nights,  and  lumpy,  husky  young  men 
on  the  day  of  the  Big  Game,  crowded  through  her.  She 
should  have  descended  to  a  burst  of  drums  or  a  dis- 
cordant blend  of  themes  from  "Thais"  and  " Carmen." 
She  had  never  been  so  curious  about  her  appearance, 
she  had  never  been  so  satisfied  with  it.  She  had  been 
sixteen  years  old  for  six  months. 

"Isabelle!"  called  her  cousin  Sally  from  the  doorway 
of  the  dressing-room. 

"I'm  ready."  She  caught  a  slight  lump  of  nervous- 
ness in  her  throat. 

"I  had  to  send  back  to  the  house  for  another  pair  of 
slippers.  It'll  be  just  a  minute." 

Isabelle  started  toward  the  dressing-room  for  a  last 
peek  in  the  mirror,  but  something  decided  her  to  stand 
there  and  gaze  down  the  broad  stairs  of  the  Minnehaha 
Club.  They  curved  tantalizingly,  and  she  could  catch 
just  a  glimpse  of  two  pairs  of  masculine  feet  in  the  hall 
below.  Pump-shod  in  uniform  black,  they  gave  no  hint 
of  identity,  but  she  wondered  eagerly  if  one  pair  were 
attached  to  Amory  Elaine.  This  .young  man,  not  as 
yet  encountered,  had  nevertheless  taken  up  a  consider- 
able part  of  her  day — the  first  day  of  her  arrival.  Com- 


68  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE- 

ing  up  in  the  machine  from  the  station,  Sally  had  volun- 
teered, amid  a  rain  of  question,  comment,  revelation, 
and  exaggeration: 

"You  remember  Amory  Elaine,  of  course.  Well,  he's 
simply  mad  to  see  you  again.  He's  stayed  over  a  day 
from  college,  and  he's  coming  to-night.  He's  heard  so 
much  about  you — says  he  remembers  your  eyes." 

This  had  pleased  Isabelle.  It  put  them  on  equal 
terms,  although  she  was  quite  capable  of  staging  her 
own  romances,  with  or  without  advance  advertising. 
But  following  her  happy  tremble  of  anticipation,  came 
a  sinking  sensation  that  made  her  ask: 

"How  do  you  mean  he's  heard  about  me?  What 
sort  of  things?" 

Sally  smiled.  She  felt  rather  in  the  capacity  of  a 
showman  with  her  more  exotic  cousin. 

"He  knows  you're — you're  considered  beautiful  and 
all  that" — she  paused — "and  I  guess  he  knows  you've 
been  kissed." 

At  this  Isabelle's  tfttle  fist  had  clinched  suddenly 
under  the  fur  robe.  She  was  accustomed  to  be  thus  fol- 
lowed by  her  desperate  past,  and  it  never  failed  to  rouse 
in  her  the  same  feeling  of  resentment;  yet — in  a  strange 
town  it  was  an  advantageous  reputation.  She  was  a 
"Speed,"  was  she?  Well— let  them  find  out. 

Out  of  the  window  Isabelle  watched  the  snow  glide 
by  irf  the  frosty  morning.  It  was  ever  so  much  colder 
here  than  in  Baltimore;  she  had  not  remembered;  the 
glass  of  the  side  door  was  iced,  the  windows  were  shirred 
with  snow  in  the  corners.  Her  mind  played  still  with 
one  subject.  Did  he  dress  like  that  boy  there,  who 
walked  calmly  down  a  bustling  business  street,  in  moc- 
casins and  winter-carnival  costume?  How  very  West- 
ern !  Of  course  he  wasn't  that  way:  he  went  to  Prince- 
ton, was  a  sophomore  or.  something.  Really  she  had  no 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  69 

distinct  idea  of  him.  An  ancient  snap-shot  she  had  pre- 
served in  an  old  kodak  book  had  impressed  her  by  the 
big  eyes  (which  he  had  probably  grown  up  to  by  now). 
However,  in  the  last  month,  when  her  winter  visit  to 
Sally  had  been  decided  on,  he  had  assumed  the  pro- 
portions of  a  worthy  adversary.  Children,  most  astute 
of  match-makers,  plot  thek  campaigns  quickly,  and  Sally 
had  played  a  clever  correspondence  sonata  to  Isabelle's 
excitable  temperament.  Isabelle  had  been  for  some 
time  capable  of  very  strong,  if  very  transient  emo- 
tions. .  .  . 

They  drew  up  at  a  spreading,  white-stone  building, 
set  back  from  the  snowy  street.  Mrs.  Weatherby 
greeted  her  warmly  and  her  various  younger  cousins 
were  produced  from  the  corners  where  they  skulked 
.politely.  Isabelle  met  them  tactfully.  At  her  best  she 
allied  all  with  whom  she  came  in  contact — except  older 
girls  and  some  women.  All  the  impressions  she  made 
were  conscious.  The  half-dozen  girls  she  renewed  ac- 
quaintance with  that  morning  were  all  rather  impressed 
and  as  much  by  her  direct  personality  as  by  her  reputa- 
tion. Amory  Elaine  was  an  open  subject.  Evidently 
a  bit  light  of  love,  neither  popular  nor  unpopular — every 
girl  there  seemed  to  have  had  an  affair  with  him  at 
some  time  or  other,  but  no  one  volunteered  any  really 
useful  information.  He  was  going  to  fall  for  her.  .  .  . 
Sally  had  published  that  information  to  her  young  set 
and  they  were  retailing  it  back  to  Sally  as  fast  as  they 
set  eyes  on  Isabelle.  Isabelle  resolved  secretly  that  she 
would,  if  necessary,  force  herself  to  like  him — she  owed 
it  to  Sally.  Suppose  she  were  terribly  disappointed. 
Sally  had  painted  him  in  such  glowing  colors — he  was 
good-looking,  "sort  of  distinguished,  when  he  wants  t» 
be,"  had  a  line,  and  was  properly  inconstant.  In  fact, 
he  summed  up  all  the  romance  that  her  age  and  environ- 


70  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ment  led  her  to  desire.  She  wondered  if  those  were 
his  dancing-shoes  that  fox-trotted  tentatively  around 
the  soft  rug  below. 

All  impressions  and,  in  fact,  all  ideas  were  extremely 
kaleidoscopic  to  Isabelle.  She  had  that  curious  mixture 
of  the  social  and  the  artistic  temperaments  found  often 
in  two  classes,  society  women  and  actresses.  Her  edu- 
cation or,  rather,  her  sophistication,  had  been  absorbed 
from  the  boys  who  had  dangled  on  her  favor;  her  tact 
was  instinctive,  and  her  capacity  for  love-affairs  was 
limited  only  by  the  number  of  the  susceptible  within 
telephone  distance.  Flirt  smiled  from  her  large  black- 
brown  eyes  and  shone  through  her  intense  physical 
magnetism. 

So  she  waited  at  the  head  of  the  stairs  that  evening 
while  slippers  were  fetched.  Just  as  she  was  growing 
impatient,  Sally  came  out  of  the  dressing-room,  beaming 
with  her  accustomed  good  nature  and  high  spirits,  and 
together  they  descended  to  the  floor  below,  while  the 
shifting  search-light  of  Isabelle's  mind  flashed  on  two 
ideas:  she  was  glad  she  had  high  color  to-night,  and 
she  wondered  if  he  danced  well. 

Down-stairs,  in  the  dub's  great  room,  she  was  sur- 
rounded for  a  moment  by  the  girls  she  had  met  in  the 
afternoon,  then  she  heard  Sally's  voice  repeating  a 
cycle  of  names,  and  found  herself  bowing  to  a  sextet  of 
black  and  white,  terribly  stiff,  vaguely  familiar  figures. 
The  name  Elaine  figured  somewhere,  but  at  first  she 
could  not  place  him.  A  very  confused,  very  juvenile 
moment  of  awkward  backings  and  bumpings  followed, 
and  every  one  found  himself  talking  to  the  person  he 
least  desired  to.  Isabelle  manoeuvred  herself  and 
Froggy  Parker,  freshman  at  Harvard,  with  whom  she 
had  once  played  hop-scotch,  to  a  seat  on  the  stairs.  A 
humorous  reference  to  the  past  was  all  she  needed.  The 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  71 

things  Isabeile  could  do  socially  with  one  idea  were 
remarkable.  First,  she  repeated  it  rapturously  in  an 
enthusiastic  contralto  with  a  soupjon  of  Southern  accent; 
then  she  held  it  off  at  a  distance  and  smiled  at  it — her 
wonderful  smile;  then  she  delivered  it  in  variations  and 
played  a  sort  of  mental  catch  with  it,  all  this  in  the 
nominal  form  of  dialogue.  Froggy  was  fascinated  and 
quite  unconscious  that  this  was  being  done,  not  for  him, 
but  for  the  green  eyes  that  glistened  under  the  shining 
carefully  watered  hair,  a  little  to  her  left,  for  Isabeile 
had  discovered  Amory.  As  an  actress  even  in  the  full- 
est flush  of  her  own  conscious  magnetism  gets  a  deep 
impression  of  most  of  the  people  in  the  front  row,  so 
Isabeile  sized  up  her  antagonist  First,  he  had  auburn 
hair,  and  from  her  feeling  of  disappointment  she  knew 
that  she  had  expected  him  to  be  dark  and  of  garter- 
advertisement  slenderness.  .  .  .  For  the  rest,  a  faint 
flush  and  a  straight,  romantic  profile;  the  effect  set  off 
by  a  close-fitting  dress  suit  and  a  silk  ruffled  shirt  of  the 
kind  that  women  still  delight  to  see  men  wear,  but  men 
were  just  beginning  to  get  tired  of. 

During  this  inspection  Amory  was  quietly  watch- 
ing. 

"Don't  you  think  so?"  she  said  suddenly,  turning  to 
him,  innocent-eyed. 

There  was  a  stir,  and  Sally  led  the  way  over  to  their  ; 
table.  Amory  struggled  to  Isabelle's  side,  and  whis-  , 
pered: 

"You're  my  dinner  partner,  you  know.  We're  all 
coached  for  each  other." 

Isabeile  gasped — this  was  rather  right  in  line.  But 
really  she  felt  as  if  a  good  speech  had  been  taken  from 
the  star  and  given  to  a  minor  character.  .  .  .  She 
mustn't  lose  the  leadership  a  bit.  The  dinner- table 
glittered  with  laughter  at  the  confusion  of  getting  places, 


72  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

and  then  curious  eyes  were  turned  on  her,  sitting  near  the 
head.  She  was  enjoying  this  immensely,  and  Froggy 
Parker  was  so  engrossed  with  the  added  sparkle  of  her 
rising  color  that  he  forgot  to  pull  out  Sally's  chair,  and 
fell  into  a  dim  confusion.  Amory  was  on  the  other 
side,  full  of  confidence  and  vanity,  gazing  at  her  in  open 
admiration.  He  began  directly,  and  so  did  Froggy: 

"I've  heard  a  lot  about  you  since  you  wore  braids— 

"Wasn't  it  funny  this  afternoon " 

Both  stopped.  Isabelle  turned  to  Amory  shyly.  Her 
face  was  always  enough  answer  for  any  one,  but  she 
decided  to  speak. 

"How — from  whom ? " 

"From  everybody — for  all  the  years  since  you've  been 
away."  She  blushed  appropriately.  On  her  right  Frog- 
gy was  hors  de  combat  already,  although  he  hadn't 
quite  realized  it. 

"I'll  tell  you  what  I  remembered  about  you  all  these 
years,"  Amory  continued.  She  leaned  slightly  toward 
him  and  looked  modestly  at  the  celery  before  her. 
Froggy  sighed — he  knew  Amory,  and  the  situations  that 
Amory  seemed  born  to  handle.  He  turned  to  Sally  and 
asked  her  if  she  was  going  away  to  school  next  year. 
Amory  opened  with  grape-shot. 

"I've  got  an  adjective  that  just  fits  you."  This  was 
one  of  his  favorite  starts — he  seldom  had  a  word  in 
mind,  but  it  was  a  curiosity  provoker,  and  he  could 
always  produce  something  complimentary  if  he  got  in  a 
tight  corner. 

"Oh — what?"  Isabelle's  face  was  a  study  in  enrap- 
tured curiosity. 

Amory  shook  his  head. 

"I  don't  know  you  very  well  yet." 

"Will  you  tell  me — afterward?"  she  half  whispered. 

He  nodded. 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  73 

"We'll  sit  out" 

Isabella  nodded. 

"Did  any  one  ever  tell  you,  you  have  keen  eyes? "  she 
said. 

Amory  attempted  to  make  them  look  even  keener. 
He  fancied,  but  he  was  not  sure,  that  her  foot  had  just 
touched  his  under  the  table.  But  it  might  possibly  have 
been  only  the  table  leg.  It  was  so  hard  to  tell.  Still  it 
thrilled  him.  He  wondered  quickly  if  there  would  be 
any  difficulty  in  securing  the  little  den  up-stairs. 

BABES  IN  THE  WOODS 

Isabelle  and  Amory  were  distinctly  not  innocent,  nor 
were  they  particularly  brazen.  Moreover,  amateur 
standing  had  very  little  value  in  the  game  they  were 
playing,  a  game  that  would  presumably  be  her  principal 
study  for  years  to  come.  She  had  begun  as  he  had, 
with  good  looks  and  an  excitable  temperament,  and  the 
rest  was  the  result  of  accessible  popular  novels  and 
dressing-room  conversation  culled  from  a  slightly  older 
set.  Isabelle  had  walked  with  an  artificial  gait  at  nine 
and  a  half,  and  when  her  eyes,  wide  and  starry,  pro- 
claimed the  ingenue  most.  Amory  was  proportionately 
less  deceived.  He  waited  for  the  mask  to  drop  off,  but 
at  the  same  time  he  did  not  question  her  right  to  wear 
it.  She,  on  her  part,  was  not  impressed  by  his  studied 
air  of  blase  sophistication.  She  had  lived  in  a  larger 
city  and  had  slightly  an  advantage  in  range.  But  she 
accepted  his  pose — it  was  one  of  the  dozen  little  conven- 
tions of  this  kind  of  affair.  He  was  aware  that  he  was 
getting  this  particular  favor  now  because  she  had  been 
coached;  he  knew  that  he  stood  for  merely  the  best 
game  in  sight,  and  that  he  would  have  to  improve  his 
opportunity  before  he  lost  his  advantage.  So  they  pro1 


74  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ceeded  with  an  infinite  guile  that  would  have  horrified 
her  parents. 

After  the  dinner  the  dance  began  .  .  .  smoothly. 
Smoothly? — boys  cut  in  on  Isabelle  every  few  feet  and 
then  squabbled  in  the  corners  with:  "You  might  let  me 
get  more  than  an  inch ! "  and  "  She  didn't  like  it  either — 
she  told  me  so  next  time  I  cut  in."  It  was  true — she 
told  every  one  so,  and  gave  every  hand  a  parting  pres- 
sure that  said:  "You  know  that  your  dances  are  making 
my  evening." 

But  time  passed,  two  nours  of  it,  and  the  less  subtle 
beaux  had  better  learned  to  focus  their  pseudo-passionate 
glances  elsewhere,  for  eleven  o'clock  found  Isabelle  and 
Amory  sitting  on  the  couch  in  the  little  den  off  the 
reading-room  up-stairs.  She  was  conscious  that  they 
were  a  handsome  pair,  and  seemed  to  belong  distinctively 
in  this  seclusion,  while  lesser  lights  fluttered  and  chat- 
tered down-stairs. 

Boys  who  passed  the  door  looked  in  enviously — girls 
who  passed  only  laughed  and  frowned  and  grew  wise 
within  themselves. 

They  had  now  reached  a  very  definite  stage.  They 
had  traded  accounts  of  their  progress  since  they  had 
met  last,  and  she  had  listened  to  much  she  had  heard 
before.  He  was  a  sophomore,  was  on  the  Princetonian 
board,  hoped  to  be  chairman  in  senior  year.  He  learned 
that  some  of  the  boys  she  went  with  in  Baltimore  were 
"terrible  speeds"  and  came  to  dances  in  states  of  arti- 
ficial stimulation;  -most  of  them  were  twenty  or  so,  and 
drove  alluring  red  Stutzes.  A  good  half  seemed  to  have 
already  flunked  out  of  various  schools  and  colleges,  but 
some  of  them  bore  athletic  names  that  made  him  look 
at  her  admiringly.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Isabelle's  closer 
acquaintance  with  the  universities  was  just  commencing. 
She  had  bowing  acquaintance  with  a  lot  of  young  men 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  75 

who  thought  she  was  a  "pretty  kid — worth  keeping  an 
eye  on."  But  Isabelle  strung  the  names  into  a  fabrica- 
tion of  gayety  that  would  have  dazzled  a  Viennese  noble- 
man. Such  is  the  power  of  young  contralto  voices  on 
sink-down  sofas. 

He  asked  her  if  she  thought  he  was  conceited.  She 
said  there  was  a  difference  between  conceit  and  self- 
confidence.  She  adored  self-confidence  in  men. 

"Is  Froggy  a  good  friend  of  yours?"  she  asked. 

"Rather— why?" 

"He's  a  bum  dancer." 

Amory  laughed. 

"He  dances  as  if  the  girl  were  on  his  back  instead  of 
in  his  arms." 

She  appreciated  this. 

"You're  awfully  good  at  sizing  people  up." 

Amory  denied  this  painfully.  However,  he  sized  up 
several  people  for  her.  Then  they  talked  about  hands. 

"You've  got  awfully  nice  hands,"  she  said.  "They 
look  as  if  you  played  the  piano.  Do  you?" 

I  have  said  they  had  reached  a  very  definite  stage — 
nay,  more,  a  very  critical  stage.  Amory  had  stayed  over 
a  day  to  see  her,  and  his  train  left  at  twelve-eighteen  that 
night.  His  trunk  and  suitcase  awaited  him  at  the  station; 
his  watch  was  beginning  to  hang  heavy  in  his  pocket. 

"Isabelle,"  he  said  suddenly,  "I  want  to  tell  you 
something."  They  had  been  talking  lightly  about "  that 
funny  look  in  her  eyes,"  and  Isabelle  knew  from  the 
change  in  his  manner  what  was  coming — indeed,  she 
had  been  wondering  how  soon  it  would  come.  Amory 
reached  above  their  heads  and  turned  out  the  electric 
light,  so  that  they  were  in  the  dark,  except  for  the  red 
glow  that  fell  through  the  door  from  the  reading-room 
lamps.  Then  he  began: 

"I  don't  know  whether  or  not  you  know  what  you — 


76  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

what  I'm  going  to  say.  Lordy,  Isabelle — this  sounds 
like  a  line,  but  it  isn't." 

"I  know,"  said  Isabelle  softly. 

"Maybe  we'll  never  meet  again  like  this — I  have 
darned  hard  luck  sometimes."  He  was  leaning  away 
from  her  on  the  other  arm  of  the  lounge,  but  she  could 
see  his  eyes  plainly  in  the  dark. 

"You'll  meet  me  again — silly."  •  There  was  just  the 
slightest  emphasis  on  the  last  word — so  that  it  became 
almost  a  term  of  endearment.  He  continued  a  bit  hus- 
kily: 

"I've  fallen  for  a  lot  of  people — girls — and  I  guess 
you  have,  too — boys,  I  mean,  but,  honestly,  you — "  he 
broke  off  suddenly  and  leaned  forward,  chin  on  his 
hands:  "Oh,  what's  the  use — you'll  go  your  way  and  I 
suppose  I'll  go  mine." 

Silence  for  a  moment.  Isabelle  was  quite  stirred;  she 
wound  her  handkerchief  into  a  tight  ball,  and  by  the 
faint  light  that  streamed  over  her,  dropped  it  delib- 
erately on  the  floor.  Their  hands  touched  for  an  in- 
stant, but  neither  spoke.  Silences  were  becoming  more 
frequent  and  more  delicious.  Outside  another  stray 
couple  had  come  up  and  were  experimenting  on  the 
piano  in  the  next  room.  After  the  usual  preliminary  of 
"chopsticks,"  one  of  them  started  "Babes  in  the  Woods" 
and  a  light  tenor  carried  the  words  into  the  den: 

"Give  me  your  hand — 
/'//  understand 
We're  off  to  slumberland." 

Isabelle  hummed  it  softly  and  trembled  as  she  felt 
Amory's  hand  close  over  hers. 

"Isabelle,"  he  whispered.  "You  know  I'm  mad  about 
you.  You  do  give  a  darn  about  me." 

"Yes." 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  77 

"How  much  do  you  care — do  you  like  any  one  better ?  " 

"No."  He  could  scarcely  hear  her,  although  he 
bent  so  near  that  he  felt  her  breath  against  his  cheek. 

"Isabelle,  I'm  going  back  to  college  for  six  long 
months,  and  why  shouldn't  we — if  I  could  only  just 
have  one  thing  to  remember  you  by " 

"Close  the  door.  .  .  ."  Her  voice  had  just  stirred  so 
that  he  half  wondered  whether  she  had  spoken  at  all. 
As  he  swung  the  door  softly  shut,  the  music  seemed 
quivering  just  outside. 

"Moonlight  is  bright, 
Kiss  me  good  night" 

What  a  wonderful  song,  she  thought — everything  was 
wonderful  to-night,  most  of  all  this  romantic  scene  in 
the  den,  with  their  hands  clinging  and  the  inevitable 
looming  charmingly  close.  The  future  vkta  of  her  life 
seemed  an  unending  succession  of  scenes  like  this:  under 
moonlight  and  pale  starlight,  and  in  the  backs  of  warm 
limousines  and  in  low,  cosey  roadsters  stopped  under 
sheltering  trees — only  the  boy  might  change,  and  this 
one  was  so  nice.  He  took  her  hand  softly.  With  a 
sudden  movement  he  turned  it  and,  holding  it  to  his 
lips,  kissed  the  palm. 

"Isabelle!"  His  whisper  blended  in  the  music,  and 
they  seemed  to  float  nearer  together.  Her  breath  came 
faster.  "Can't  I  kiss  you,  Isabelle — Isabelle?"  Lips 
half  parted,  she  turned  her  head  to  him  in  the  dark. 
Suddenly  the  ring  of  voices,  the  sound  of  running  foot- 
steps surged  toward  them.  Quick  as  a  flash  Amory 
reached  up  and  turned  on  the  light,  and  when  the  door 
opened  and  three  boys,  the  wrathy  and  dance-craving 
Froggy  among  them,  rushed  in,  he  was  turning  over  the 
magazines  on  the  table,  while  she  sat  without  moving, 
serene  and  unembarrassed,  and  even  greeted  them  with 


78  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

a  welcoming  smile.  But  her  heart  was  beating  wildly, 
and  she  felt  somehow  as  if  she  had  been  deprived. 

It  was  evidently  over.  There  was  a  clamor  for  a 
dance,  there  was  a  glance  that  passed  between  them — 
on  his  side  despair,  on  hers  regret,  and  then  the  evening 
went  on,  with  the  reassured  beaux  and  the  eternal  cut- 
ting in. 

At  quarter  to  twelve  Amory  shook  hands  with  her 
gravely,  in  the  midst  of  a  small  crowd  assembled  to 
wish  him  good-speed.  For  an  instant  he  lost  his  poise, 
and  she  felt  a  bit  rattled  when  a  satirical  voice  from 
a  concealed  wit  cried: 

"Take  her  outside,  Amory!"  As  he  took  her  hand 
he  pressed  it  a  little,  and  she  returned  the  pressure  as 
she  had  done  to  twenty  hands  that  evening — that  was 
all. 

At  two  o'clock  back  at  the  Weatherbys'  Sally  asked 
her  if  she  and  Amory  had  had  a  "time"  in  the  den. 
Isabelle  turned  to  her  quietly.  In  her  eyes  was  the 
light  of  the  idealist,  the  inviolate  dreamer  of  Joan-like 
dreams. 

"No,"  she  answered.  "I  don't  do  that  sort  of  thing 
any  more;  he  asked  me  to,  but  I  said  no." 

As  she  crept  in  bed  she  wondered  what  he'd  say  in 
his  special  delivery  to-morrow.  He  had  such  a  good- 
looking  mouth — would  she  ever ? 

"Fourteen  angels  were  watching  o'er  them,"  sang 
Sally  sleepily  from  the  next  room. 

"Damn !"  muttered  Isabelle,  punching  the  pillow  into 
a  luxurious  lump  and  exploring  the  cold  sheets  cautiously. 
"Damn!" 

CARNIVAL 

Amory,  by  way  of  the  Princetonian,  had  arrived. 
The  minor  snobs,  finely  balanced  thermometers  of  sue- 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  79 

cess,  wanned  to  him  as  the  club  elections  grew  nigh, 
and  he  and  Tom  were  visited  by  groups  of  upper  class- 
men who  arrived  awkwardly,  balanced  on  the  edge  of 
the  furniture  and  talked  of  all  subjects  except  the  one 
of  absorbing  interest.  Amory  was  amused  at  the  intent 
eyes  upon  him,  and,  in  case  the  visitors  represented 
some  club  in  which  he  was  not  interested,  took  great 
pleasure  in  shocking  them  with  unorthodox  remarks. 

"Oh,  let  me  see — "  he  said  one  night  to  a  flabber- 
gasted delegation,  "what  club  do  you  represent?" 

With  visitors  from  Ivy  and  Cottage  and  Tiger  Inn  he 
played  the  "nice,  unspoilt,  ingenuous  boy"  very  much 
at  ease  and  quite  unaware  of  the  object  of  the  call. 

When  the  fatal  morning  arrived,  early  in  March,  and 
the  campus  became  a  document  in  hysteria,  he  slid 
smoothly  into  Cottage  with  Alec  Connage  and  watched 
his  suddenly  neurotic  class  with  much  wonder. 

There  were  fickle  groups  that  jumped  from  club  to 
club;  there  were  friends  of  two  or  three  days  who  an- 
nounced tearfully  and  wildly  that  they  must  join  the 
same  club,  nothing  should  separate  them;  there  were 
snarling  disclosures  of  long-hidden  grudges  as  the  Sud- 
denly Prominent  remembered  snubs  of  freshman  year. 
Unknown  men  were  elevated  into  importance  when  they 
received  certain  coveted  bids;  others  who  were  con- 
sidered "all  set"  found  that  they  had  made  unexpected 
enemies,  felt  themselves  stranded  and  deserted,  talked 
wildly  of  leaving  college. 

In  his  own  crowd  Amory  saw  men  kept  out  for  wear- 
ing green  hats,  for  being  "a  damn  tailor's  dummy,"  for 
having  "too  much  pull  in  heaven,"  for  getting  drunk 
one  night  "not  like  a  gentleman,  by  God,"  or  for  un- 
fathomable secret  reasons  known  to  no  one  but  the 
wielders  of  the  black  balls. 

This  orgy  of  sociability   culminated  in  a  gigantic 


So  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

party  at  the  Nassau  Inn,  where  punch  was  dispensed  from 
immense  bowls,  and  the  whole  down-stairs  became  a  de- 
lirious, circulating,  shouting  pattern  of  faces  and  voices. 

"Hi,  Dibby— 'gratulations ! " 

"Goo*  boy,  Tom,  you  got  a  good  bunch  in  Cap." 

"Say,  Kerry " 

"Oh,  Kerry — I  hear  you  went  Tiger  with  aD  the 
weight-lifters ! " 

"Well,  I  didn't  go  Cottage — the  parlor-snakes'  de- 
light." 

"They  say  Overton  fainted  when  he  got  his  Ivy  bid — 
Did  he  sign  up  the  first  day? — oh,  no.  Tore  over  to 
Murray-Dodge  on  a  bicycle — afraid  it  was  a  mistake." 

"How'd  you  get  into  Cap — you  old  roue?" 

"'Gratulations!" 

"  'Gratulations  yourself.    Hear  you  got  a  good  crowd." 

When  the  bar  closed,  the  party  broke  up  into  gjroups 
and  streamed,  singing,  over  the  snow-clad  campus,  in  a 
weird  delusion  that  snobbishness  and  strain  were  over 
at  last,  and  that  they  could  do  what  they  pleased  for 
the  next  two  years. 

Long  afterward  Amory  thought  of  sophomore  spring 
as  the  happiest  time  of  his  life.  His  ideas  were  in  tune 
with  life  as  he  found  it;  he  wanted  no  more  than  to  drift 
and  dream  and  enjoy  a  dozen  new-found  friendships 
through  the  April  afternoons. 

Alec  Connage  came  into  his  room  one  morning  and 
woke  him  up  into  the  sunshine  and  peculiar  glory  of 
Campbell  Hall  shining  in  the  window. 

"Wake  up,  Original  Sin,  and  scrape  yourself  together. 
Be  in  front  of  Renwick's  in  half  an  hour.  Somebody's 
got  a  car."  He  took  the  bureau  cover  and  carefully 
deposited  it,  with  its  load  of  small  articles,  upon  the  bed. 

"Where'd  you  get  the  car?"  demanded  Amory  cyni- 
cally. 


SPIRES  AND  GARGOYLES  8r 

"Sacred  trust,  but  don't  be  a  critical  goopher  or  you 
can't  go!" 

"I  think  I'll  sleep,"  Amory  said  calmly,  resettling 
himself  and  reaching  beside  the  bed  for  a  cigarette. 

"Sleep!" 

"Why  not?    I've  got  a  class  at  eleven- thirty." 

"You  damned  gloom!  Of  course,  if  you  don't  want 
to  go  to  the  coast " 

With  a  bound  Amory  was  out  of  bed,  scattering  the 
bureau  cover's  burden  on  the  floor.  The  coast  ...  he 
hadn't  seen  it  for  years,  since  he  and  his  mother  were 
on  their  pilgrimage. 

"Who's  going?"  he  demanded  as  he  wriggled  into 
his  B.  V.  D.'s. 

"Oh,  Dick  Humbird  and  Kerry  Holiday  and  Jesse 
Ferrenby  and — oh  about  five  or  six.  Speed  it  up,  kid ! " 

In  ten  minutes  Amory  was  devouring  cornflakes  in 
Renwick's,  and  at  nine-thirty  they  bowled  happily  out 
of  town,  headed  for  the  sands  of  Deal  Beach. 

"You  see,"  said  Kerry,  "the  car  belongs  down 
there.  In  fact,  it  was  stolen  from  Asbury  Park  by  per- 
sons unknown,  who  deserted  it  in  Princeton  and  left 
for  the  West  Heartless  Humbird  here  got  permission 
from  the  city  council  to  deliver  it." 

"Anybody  got  any  money?"  suggested  Ferrenby, 
turning  around  from  the  front  seat. 

There  was  an  emphatic  negative  chorus. 

"That  makes  it  interesting." 

"Money — what's  money?    We  can  sell  the  car." 

"Charge  him  salvage  or  something." 

"How're  we  going  to  get  food?"  asked  Amory. 

"Honestly,"  answered  Kerry,  eying  him  reprovingly, 
"do  you  doubt  Kerry's  ability  for  three  short  days? 
Some  people  have  lived  on  nothing  for  years  at  a  time. 
Read  the  Boy  Scout  Monthly." 


82  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Three  days,"  Amory  mused,  "and  I've  got  classes." 

"One  of  the  days  is  the  Sabbath." 

"Just  the  same,  I  can  only  cut  six  more  classes,  with 
over  a  month  and  a  half  to  go." 

"Throw  him  out!" 

"It's  a  long  walk  back." 

"Amory,  you're  running  it  out,  if  I  may  coin  a  new 
phrase." 

"Hadn't  you  better  get  some  dope  on  yourself, 
Amory?" 

Amory  subsided  resignedly  and  drooped  into  a  con- 
templation of  the  scenery.  Swinburne  seemed  to  fit  in 
somehow. 

"Oh,  winter's  rains  and  ruins  are  over, 
And  all  the  seasons  of  snows  and  sins; 

The  days  dividing  lover  and  lover, 

The  light  that  loses,  the  night  that  wins; 

And  time  remembered  is  grief  forgotten, 

And  frosts  are  slain  and  flowers  begotten, 

And  in  green  underwood  and  cover, 
Blossom  by  blossom  the  spring  begins. 


"  The  full  streams  feed  on  flower  of- 


" What's  the  matter,  Amory?  Amory's  thinking 
about  poetry,  about  the  pretty  birds  and  flowers.  I 
can  see  it  in  his  eye." 

"No,  I'm  not,"  he  lied.  "I'm  thinking  about  the 
Princetonian.  I  ought  to  make  up  to-night;  but  I  can 
telephone  back,  I  suppose." 

"Oh,"  said  Kerry  respectfully,  "these  important 
men " 

Amory  flushed  and  it  seemed  to  him  that  Ferrenby,  a 
defeated  competitor,  winced  a  little.  Of  course,  Kerry 
was  only  kidding,  but  he  really  mustn't  mention  the 
Princetonian. 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  83 

It  was  a  halcyon  day,  and  as  they  neared  the  shore 
and  the  salt  breezes  scurried  by,  he  began  to  picture  the 
ocean  and  long,  level  stretches  of  sand  and  red  roofs 
over  blue  sea.  Then  they  hurried  through  the  little 
town  and  it  all  flashed  upon  his  consciousness  to  a 
mighty  paean  of  emotion.  .  .  . 

"Oh,  good  Lord !    Look  at  it ! "  he  cried. 

"What?" 

"Let  me  out,  quick — I  haven't  seen  it  for  eight  years ! 
Oh,  gentlefolk,  stop  the  car ! " 

"What  an  odd  child!"  remarked  Alec. 

"I  do  believe  he's  a  bit  eccentric." 

The  car  was  obligingly  drawn  up  at  a  curb,  and  Amory 
ran  for  the  boardwalk.  First,  he  realized  that  the  sea 
was  blue  and  that  there  was  an  enormous  quantity  of 
it,  and  that  it  roared  and  roared — really  all  the  banali- 
ties about  the  ocean  that  one  could  realize,  but  if  any 
one  had  told  him  then  that  these  things  were  banalities, 
he  would  have  gaped  in  wonder. 

"Now  we'll  get  lunch,"  ordered  Kerry,  wandering  up 
with  the  crowd.  "Come  on,  Amory,  tear  yourself 
away  and  get  practical." 

"We'll  try  the  best  hotel  first,"  he  went  on,  "and 
thence  and  so  forth." 

They  strolled  along  the  boardwalk  to  the  most  im- 
posing hostelry  in  sight,  and,  entering  the  dining-room, 
scattered  about  a  table. 

"Eight  Bronxes,"  commanded  Alec,  "and  a  club 
sandwich  and  Juliennes.  The  food  for  one.  Hand  the 
rest  around." 

Amory  ate  little,  having  seized  a  chair  where  he  could 
watch  the  sea  and  feel  the  rock  of  it.  When  luncheon 
was  over  they  sat  and  smoked  quietly. 

"What's  the  bill?" 

Some  one  scanned  it. 


84  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Eight  twenty-five." 

"Rotten  overcharge.  We'll  give  them  two  dollars 
and  one  for  the  waiter.  Kerry,  collect  the  small  change. " 

The  waiter  approached,  and  Kerry  gravely  handed 
him  a  dollar,  tossed  two  dollars  on  the  check,  and 
turned  away.  They  sauntered  leisurely  toward  the 
door,  pursued  in  a  moment  by  the  suspicious  Gany- 
mede. 

"Some  mistake,  sir." 

Kerry  took  the  bill  and  examined  it  critically. 

"No  mistake !"  he  said,  shaking  his  head  gravdy,  and, 
tearing  it  into  four  pieces,  he  handed  the  scraps  to  the 
waiter,  who  was  so  dumfounded  that  he  stood  motion- 
less and  expressionless  while  they  walked  out. 

"Won't  he  send  after  us?" 

"No,"  said  Kerry;  "for  a  minute  he'll  think  we're  the 
proprietor's  sons  or  something;  then  he'll  look  at  the 
check  again  and  call  the  manager,  and  in  the  mean- 
time  " 

They  left  the  car  at  Asbury  and  street-car'd  to  Allen- 
hurst,  where  they  investigated  the  crowded  pavilions  for 
beauty.  At  four  there  were  refreshments  in  a  lunch- 
room, and  this  time  they  paid  an  even  smaller  per  cent 
on  the  total  cost;  something  about  the  appearance  and 
savoir-faire  of  the  crowd  made  the  thing  go,  and  they 
were  not  pursued. 

"You  see,  Amory,  we're  Marxian  Socialists,"  ex- 
plained Kerry.  "We  don't  believe  in  property  and 
we're  putting  it  to  the  great  test." 

"Night  will  descend,"  Amory  suggested. 

"Watch,  and  put  your  trust  in  Holiday." 

They  became  jovial  about  five-thirty  and,  linking 
arms,  strolled  up  and  down  the  boardwalk  in  a  row, 
chanting  a  monotonous  ditty  about  the  sad  sea  waves. 
Then  Kerry  saw  a  face  in  the  crowd  that  attracted  him 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  85 

and,  rushing  off,  reappeared  in  a  moment  with  one  of 
the  homeliest  girls  Amory  had  ever  set  eyes  on.  Her 
pale  mouth  extended  from  ear  to  ear,  her  teeth  projected 
in  a  solid  wedge,  and  she  had  little,  squinty  eyes  that 
peeped  ingratiatingly  over  the  side  sweep  of  her  nose. 
Kerry  presented  them  formally. 

"Name  of  Kaluka,  Hawaiian  queen!  Let  me  pre- 
sent Messrs.  Connage,  Sloane,  Humbird,  Ferrenby,  and 
Elaine." 

The  girl  bobbed  courtesies  all  around.  Poor  creature; 
Amory  supposed  she  had  never  before  been  noticed  in 
her  life — possibly  she  was  half-witted.  While  she  ac- 
companied them  (Kerry  had  invited  her  to  supper)  she 
said  nothing  which  could  discountenance  such  a  belief. 

"  She  prefers  her  native  dishes,"  said  Alec  gravely  to 
the  waiter,  "but  any  coarse  food  will  do." 

All  through  supper  he  addressed  her  in  the  most 
respectful  language,  while  Kerry  made  idiotic  love  to 
her  on  the  other  side,  and  she  giggled  and  grinned. 
Amory  was  content  to  sit  and  watch  the  by-play,  think- 
ing what  a  light  touch  Kerry  had,  and  how  he  could 
transform  the  barest  incident  into  a  thing  of  curve  and 
contour.  They  all  seemed  to  have  the  spirit  of  it  more 
or  less,  and  it  was  a  relaxation  to  be  with  them.  Amory 
usually  liked  men  individually,  yet  feared  them  in 
crowds  unless  the  crowd  was  around  him.  He  wondered 
how  much  each  one  contributed  to  the  party,  for  there 
was  somewhat  of  a  spiritual  tax  levied.  Atec  and  Kerry 
were  the  life  of  it,  but  not  quite  the  centre.  Somehow 
the  quiet  Humbird,  and  Sloane,  with  his  impatient  super- 
ciliousness, were  the  centre. 

Dick  Humbird  had,  ever  since  freshman  year,  seemed 
to  Amory  a  perfect  type  of  aristocrat.  He  was  slender 
but  well-built — black  curly  hair,  straight  features,  and 
rather  a  dark  skin.  Everything  he  said  sounded  intan- 


86  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

gibly  appropriate.  He  possessed  infinite  courage,  an 
averagely  good  mind,  and  a  sense  of  honor  with  a  clear 
charm  and  noblesse  oblige  that  varied  it  from  righteous- 
ness. He  could  dissipate  without  going  to  pieces,  and 
even  his  most  bohemian  adventures  never  seemed  "run- 
ning it  out."  People  dressed  like  him,  tried  to  talk  as 
he  did.  .  .  .  Amory  decided  that  he  probably  held 
the  world  back,  but  he  wouldn't  have  changed  him.  .  .  . 

He  differed  from  the  healthy  type  that  was  essentially 
middle-class — he  never  seemed  to  perspire.  Some  peo- 
ple couldn't  be  familiar  with  a  chauffeur  without  having 
it  returned;  Humbird  could  have  lunched  at  Sherry's 
with  a  colored  man,  yet  people  would  have  somehow 
known  that  it  was  all  right.  He  was  not  a  snob,  though 
he  knew  only  half  his  class.  His  friends  ranged  from 
the  highest  to  the  lowest,  but  it  was  impossible  to  "cul- 
tivate" him.  Servants  worshipped  him,  and  treated 
him  like  a  god.  He  seemed  the  eternal  example  of 
what  the  upper  class  tries  to  be. 

"He's  like  those  pictures  in  the  Illustrated  London 
News  of  the  English  officers  who  have  been  killed," 
Amory  had  said  to  Alec. 

"Well,"  Alec  had  answered,  "if  you  want  to  know  the 
shocking  truth,  his  father  was  a  grocery  clerk  who  made 
a  fortune  in  Tacoma  real  estate  and  came  to  New  York 
ten  years  ago." 

Amory  had  felt  a  curious  sinking  sensation. 

This  present  type  of  party  was  made  possible  by  the 
surging  together  of  the  class  after  club  elections — as  if 
to  make  a  last  desperate  attempt  to  know  itself,  to  keep 
together,  to  fight  off  the  tightening  spirit  of  the  dubs. 
It  was  a  let-down  from  the  conventional  heights  they 
had  all  walked  so  rigidly. 

After  supper  they  saw  Kaluka  to  the  boardwalk,  and 
then  strolled  back  along  the  beach  to  Asbury.  The 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  87 

evening  sea  was  a  new  sensation,  for  all  its  color  and  mel- 
low age  was  gone,  and  it  seemed  the  bleak  waste  that 
made  the  Norse  sagas  sad;  Amory  thought  of  Kipling's 

"Beaches  of  Luhanon  before  the  sealers  came" 

It  was  still  a  music,  though,  infinitely  sorrowful. 

Ten  o'clock  found  them  penniless.  They  had  sup- 
pered  greatly  on  their  last  eleven  cents  and,  singing, 
strolled  up  through  the  casinos  and  lighted  arches  on 
the  boardwalk,  stopping  to  listen  approvingly  to  all 
band  concerts.  In  one  place  Kerry  took  up  a  collection 
for  the  French  War  Orphans  which  netted  a  dollar  and 
twenty  cents,  and  with  this  they  bought  some  brandy 
in  case  they  caught  cold  in  the  night.  They  finished 
the  day  in  a  moving-picture  show  and  went  into  solemn 
systematic  roars  of  laughter  at  an  ancient  comedy,  to 
the  startled  annoyance  of  the  rest  of  the  audience. 
Their  entrance  was  distinctly  strategic,  for  each  man 
as  he  entered  pointed  reproachfully  at  the  one  just 
behind  him.  Sloane,  bringing  up  the  rear,  disclaimed 
all  knowledge  and  responsibility  as  soon  as  the  others 
were  scattered  inside;  then  as  the  irate  ticket-taker 
rushed  in  he  followed  nonchalantly. 

They  reassembled  later  by  the  Casino  and  made 
arrangements  for  the  night.  Kerry  wormed  permission 
from  the  watchman  to  sleep  on  the  platform  and,  hav- 
ing collected  a  huge  pile  of  rugs  from  the  booths  to  serve 
as  mattresses  and  blankets,  they  talked  until  midnight, 
and  then  fell  into  a  dreamless  sleep,  though  Amory  tried 
hard  to  stay  awake  and  watch  that  marvellous  moon 
settle  on  the  sea. 

So  they  progressed  for  two  happy  days,  up  and  down 
the  shore  by  street-car  or  machine,  or  by  shoe-leather  on 
the  crowded  boardwalk;  sometimes  eating  with  the 


88  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

wealthy,  more  frequently  dining  frugally  at  the  expense 
of  an  unsuspecting  restaurateur.  They  had  their  photos 
taken,  eight  poses,  in  a  quick-development  store.  Kerry 
insisted  on  grouping  them  as  a  "varsity"  football  team, 
and  then  as  a  tough  gang  from  the  East  Side,  with  their 
coats  inside  out,  and  himself  sitting  in  the  middle  on  a 
cardboard  moon.  The  photographer  probably  has  them 
yet — at  least,  they  never  called  for  them.  The  weather 
was  perfect,  and  again  they  slept  outside,  and  again 
Amory  fell  unwillingly  asleep. 

Sunday  broke  stolid  and  respectable,  and  even  the 
sea  seemed  to  mumble  and  complain,  so  they  returned 
to  Princeton  via  the  Fords  of  transient  farmers,  and 
broke  up  with  colds  in  their  heads,  but  otherwise  none 
the  worse  for  wandering. 

Even  more  than  in  the  year  before,  Amory  neglected 
his  work,  not  deliberately  but  lazily  and  through  a  mul- 
titude of  other  interests.  Co-ordinate  geometry  and  the 
melancholy  hexameters  of  Corneille  and  Racine  held 
forth  small  allurements,  and  even  psychology,  which  he 
had  eagerly  awaited,  proved  to  be  a  dull  subject  full  of 
muscular  reactions  and  biological  phrases  rather  than 
the  study  of  personality  and  influence.  That  was  a 
noon  class,  and  it  always  sent  him  dozing.  Having 
found  that  "subjective  and  objective,  sir,"  answered 
most  of  the  questions,  he  used  the  phrase  on  all  occa- 
sions, and  it  became  the  class  joke  when,  on  a  query 
being  levelled  at  him,  he  was  nudged  awake  by  Fer- 
renby  or  Sk>ane  to  gasp  it  out. 

Mostly  there  were  parties — to  Orange  or  the  Shore, 
more  rarely  to  New  York  and  Philadelphia,  though  one 
night  they  marshalled  fourteen  waitresses  out  of  Childs' 
and  took  them  to  ride  down  Fifth  Avenue  on  top  of  an 
auto  bus.  They  all  cut  more  classes  than  were  allowed, 
which  meant  an  additional  course  the  following  year, 
but  spring  was  too  rare  to  let  anything  interfere  with 


AND   GARGOYLES  89 

their  colorful  ramblings.  In  May  Amory  was  elected 
to  the  Sophomore  Prom  Committee,  and  when  after  a 
long  evening's  discussion  with  Alec  they  made  out  a 
tentative  list  of  class  probabilities  for  the  senior  council, 
they  placed  themselves  among  the  surest.  The  senior 
council  was  composed  presumably  of  the  eighteen  most 
representative  seniors,  and  in  view  of  Alec's  footiball 
managership  and  Amory's  chance  of  nosing  out  Burne 
Holiday  as  Princetonian  chairman,  they  seemed  fairly 
justified  in  this  presumption.  Oddly  enough,  they  both 
placed  D'Invilliers  as  among  the  possibilities,  a  guess 
that  a  year  before  the  class  would  have  gaped  at. 

All  through  the  spring  Amory  had  kept  up  an  intermit- 
tent correspondence  with  Isabelle  Borge,  punctuated  by 
violent  squabbles  and  chiefly  enlivened  by  his  attempts 
to  find  new  words  for  love.  He  discovered  Isabelle  to 
be  discreetly  and  aggravatingly  unsentimental  in  let- 
ters, but  he  hoped  against  hope  that  she  would  prove 
not  too  exotic  a  bloom  to  fit  the  large  spaces  of  spring  as 
she  had  fitted  the  den  in  the  Minnehaha  Club.  During 
May  he  wrote  thirty-page  documents  almost  nightly, 
and  sent  them  to  her  in  bulky  envelopes  exteriorly 
labelled  "Part  I"  and  "Part  II." 

"Oh,  Alec,  I  believe  I'm  tired  of  college,"  he  said 
sadly,  as  they  walked  the  dusk  together. 

"I  think  I  am,  too,  in  a  way." 

"All  I'd  like  would  be  a  little  home  in  the  country, 
some  warm  country,  and  a  wife,  and  just  enough  to  do 
to  keep  from  rotting." 

"Me,  too." 

"I'd  like  to  quit." 

"What  does  your  girl  say?" 

"Oh!"  Amory  gasped  in  horror.  "She  wouldn't 
think  of  marrying  .  .  .  that  is,  not  now.  I  mean  the 
future,  you  know." 

"My  girl  would.     I'm  engaged." 


90  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Are  you  really?" 

"Yes.  Don't  say  a  word  to  anybody,  please,  but  I 
am.  I  may  not  come  back  next  year." 

"But  you're  only  twenty !    Give  up  college?" 

"Why,  Amory,  you  were  saying  a  minute  ago " 

"Yes,"  Amory  interrupted,  "but  I  was  just  wishing. 
I  wouldn't  think  of  leaving  college.  It's  just  that  I  feel 
so  sad  these  wonderful  nights.  I  sort  of  feel  they're 
never  coming  again,  and  I'm  not  really  getting  all  I 
could  out  of  them.  I  wish  my  girl  lived  here.  But 
marry — not  a  chance.  Especially  as  father  says  the 
money  isn't  forthcoming  as  it  used  to  be." 

"What  a  waste  these  nights  are!"  agreed  Alec. 

But  Amory  sighed  and  made  use  of  the  nights.  He 
had  a  snap-shot  of  Isabelle,  enshrined  in  an  old  watch, 
and  at  eight  almost  every  night  he  would  turn  off  all  the 
lights  except  the  desk  lamp  and,  sitting  by  the  open 
windows  with  the  picture  before  him,  write  her  raptur- 
ous letters. 

.  .  .  Oh,  it's  so  hard  to  write  you  what  I  really  fed  when  I 
think  about  you  so  much;  you've  gotten  to  mean  to  me  a  dream 
that  I  can't  put  on  paper  any  more.  Your  last  letter  came  and 
it  was  wonderful!  I  read  it  over  about  six  times,  especially 
the  last  part,  but  I  do  wish,  sometimes,  you'd  be  more  frank 
and  tell  me  what  you  really  do  think  of  me,  yet  your  last  letter 
was  too  good  to  be  true,  and  I  can  hardly  wait  until  June !  Be 
sure  and  be  able  to  come  to  the  prom.  It'll  be  fine,  I  think,  and 
I  want  to  bring  you  just  at  the  end  of  a  wonderful  year.  I  often 
think  over  what  you  said  on  that  night  and  wonder  how  much 
you  meant.  If  it  were  any  one  but  you — but  you  see  I  thought 
you  were  fickle  the  first  time  I  saw  you  and  you  are  so  popular 
and  everything  that  I  can't  imagine  your  really  liking  me  best. 

Oh,  Isabelle,  dear — it's  a  wonderful  night.  Somebody  is  play- 
ing "Love  Moon"  on  a  mandolin  far  across  the  campus,  and 
the  music  seems  to  bring  you  into  the  window.  Now  he's  play- 
ing "Good-by,  Boys,  I'm  Through,"  and  how  well  it  suits  me. 
For  I  am  through  with  everything.  I  have  decided  never  to 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  91 

take  a  cocktail  again,  and  I  know  I'll  never  again  fall  in  love — 
I  couldn't — you've  been  too  much  a  part  of  my  days  and  nights 
to  ever  let  me  think  of  another  girl.  I  meet  them  all  the  time 
and  they  don't  interest  me.  I'm  not  pretending  to  be  blase, 
because  it's  not  that.  It's  just  that  I'm  in  love.  Oh,  dearest 
Isabefle  (somehow  I  can't  call  you  just  Isabelle,  and  I'm  afraid 
I'll  come  out  with  the  "dearest"  before  your  family  this  June), 
you've  got  to  come  to  the  prom,  and  then  I'll  come  up  to  your 
house  for  a  day  and  everything'll  be  perfect.  .  .  . 

And  so  on  in  an  eternal  monotone  that  seemed  to 
both  of  them  infinitely  charming,  infinitely  new. 

June  came  and  the  days  grew  so  hot  and  lazy  that 
they  could  not  worry  even  about  exams,  but  spent 
dreamy  evenings  on  the  court  of  Cottage,  talking  of  long 
subjects  until  the  sweep  of  country  toward  Stony  Brook 
became  a  blue  haze  and  the  lilacs  were  white  around 
tennis-courts,  and  words  gave  way  to  silent  cigarettes. 
.  .  .  Then  down  deserted  Prospect  and  along  McCosh 
with  song  everywhere  around  them,  up  to  the  hot  jovial- 
ity of  Nassau  Street. 

Tom  D'Invilliers  and  Amory  walked  late  in  those 
days.  A  gambling  fever  swept  through  the  sophomore 
class  and  they  bent  over  the  bones  till  three  o'clock 
many  a  sultry  night.  After  one  session  they  came  out 
of  Sloane's  room  to  find  the  dew  fallen  and  the  stars 
old  in  the  sky. 

"Let's  borrow  bicycles  and  take  a  ride,"  Amory  sug- 
gested. 

"All  right.  I'm  not  a  bit  tired  and  this  is  almost  the 
last  night  of  the  year,  really,  because  the  prom  stuff 
starts  Monday." 

They  found  two  unlocked  bicycles  in  Holder  Court 
and  rode  out  about  half-past  three  along  the  Lawrence- 
ville  Road. 

"What  are  you  going  to  do  this  summer,  Amory?" 


92  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"T>on't  ask  me — same  old  things,  I  suppose.  A 
month  or  two  in  Lake  Geneva — I'm  counting  on  you  to 
be  there  in  July,  you  know — then  there'll  be  Minneapo- 
lis, and  that  means  hundreds  of  summer  hops,  parlor- 
snaking,  getting  bored —  But  oh,  Tom,"  he  added 
suddenly,  "hasn't  this  year  been  slid: !" 

"No/'  declared  Tom  emphatically,  a  new  Tom, 
clothed  by  Brooks,  shod  by  Franks,  "I've  won  this 
game,  but  I  fed  as  if  I  never  want  to  play  another. 
You're  all  right — you're  a  rubber  ball,  and  somehow  it 
suits  you,  but  I'm  sick  of  adapting  myself  to  the  local 
snobbishness  of  this  corner  of  the  world.  I  want  to  go 
where  people  aren't  barred  because  of  the  color  of  their 
neckties  and  the  roll  of  their  coats." 

"You  can't,  Tom,"  argued  Amory,  as  they  rolled 
along  through  the  scattering  night;  "wherever  you  go 
now  you'll  always  unconsciously  apply  these  standards 
of  'having  it'  or  'lacking  it.'  For  better  or  worse  we've 
stamped  you;  you're  a  Princeton  type!" 

"Well,  then,"  complained  Tom,  his  cracked  voice  ris- 
ing plaintively,  "why  do  I  have  to  come  back  at  all? 
I've  learned  all  that  Princeton  has  to  offer.  Two  years 
more  of  mere  pedantry  and  lying  around  a  club  aren't 
going  to  help.  They're  just  going  to  disorganize  me, 
conventionalize  me  completely.  Even  now  I'm  so 
spineless  that  I  wonder  how  I  get  away  with  it." 

"Oh,  but  you're  missing  the  real  point,  Tom,"  Amory 
interrupted.  "You've  just  had  your  eyes  opened  to 
the  snobbishness  of  the  world  in  a  rather  abrupt  man- 
ner. Princeton  invariably  gives  the  thoughtful  man  a 
social  sense." 

"You  consider  you  taught  me  that,  don't  you?"  he 
asked  quizzically,  eying  Amory  in  the  half  dark. 

Amory  laughed  quietly. 

"Didn't  I?" 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  93 

"Sometimes,"  he  said  slowly,  "I  think  you're  my 
bad  angel.  I  might  have  been  a  pretty  fair  poet." 

"Come  on,  that's  rather  hard.  You  chose  to  come 
to  an  Eastern  college.  Either  your  eyes  were  opened 
to  the  mean  scrambling  quality  of  people,  or  you'd  have 
gone  through  blind,  and  you'd  hate  to  have  done  that 
—been  like  Marty  Kaye." 

"Yes,"  he  agreed,  "you're  right.  I  wouldn't  have 
liked  it.  Still,  it's  hard  to  be  made  a  cynic  at  twenty." 

"  I  was  born  one,"  Amory  murmured.  "  I'm  a  cynical 
idealist."  He  paused  and  wondered  if  that  meant  any- 
thing. 

They  reached  the  sleeping  school  of  Lawrenceville, 
and  turned  to  ride  back. 

"It's  good,  this  ride,  isn't  it?"  Tom  said  presently. 

"Yes;  it's  a  good  finish,  it's  knock-out;  everything's 
good  to-night.  Oh,  for  a  hot,  languorous  summer  and 
Isabella!" 

"Oh,  you  and  your  Isabelle!  I'll  bet  she's  a  simple 
one  .  .  .  let's  say  some  poetry." 

So  Amory  declaimed  "The  Ode  to  a  Nightingale"  to 
the  bashes  they  passed. 

"I'D  never  be  a  poet,"  said  Amory  as  he  finished. 
"I'm  not  enough  of  a  sensualist  really;  there  are  only  a 
few  obvious  things  that  I  notice  as  primarily  beautiful: 
women,  spring  evenings,  music  at  night,  the  sea;  I  don't 
catch  the  subtle  things  like  'silver-snarling  trumpets.' 
I  may  turn  out  an  intellectual,  but  I'll  never  write  any- 
thing but  mediocre  poetry." 

They  rode  into  Princeton  as  the  sun  was  making  col- 
ored maps  of  the  sky  behind  the  graduate  school,  and 
hurried  to  the  refreshment  of  a  shower  that  would  have 
to  serve  in  place  of  sleep.  By  noon  the  bright-costumed 
alumni  crowded  the  streets  with  their  bands  and  cho- 
ruses, and  in  the  tents  there  was  great  reunion  under  the 


94  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

orange-and-black  banners  that  curled  and  strained  in 
the  wind.  Amory  looked  long  at  one  house  which  bore 
the  legend  "Sixty-nine."  There  a  few  gray-haired  men 
sat  and  talked  quietly  while  the  classes  swept  by  in 
panorama  of  life. 

UNDER  THE  ARC-LIGHT 

Then  tragedy's  emerald  eyes  glared  suddenly  at 
Amory  over  the  edge  of  June.  On  the  night  after  his 
ride  to  Lawrenceville  a  crowd  sallied  to  New  York  in 
quest  of  adventure,  and  started  back  to  Princeton  about 
twelve  o'clock  in  two  machines.  It  had  been  a  gay 
party  and  different  stages  of  sobriety  were  represented. 
Amory  was  in  the  car  behind;  they  had  taken  the  wrong 
road  and  lost  the  way,  and  so  were  hurrying  to  catch  up. 

It  was  a  clear  night  and  the  exhilaration  of  the  road 
went  to  Amory's  head.  He  had  the  ghost  of  two  stanzas 
of  a  poem  forming  in  his  mind.  .  .  . 

So  the  gray  car  crept  nightward  in  the  dark  and  there  was  no 
life  stirred  as  it  went  by.  .  .  .  As  the  still  ocean  paths  before  the 
shark  in  starred  and  glittering  waterways,  beauty-high,  the  moon- 
swathed  trees  divided,  pair  on  pair,  while  flapping  nightbirds  cried 
across  the  air.  .  .  . 

A  moment  by  an  inn  of  lamps  and  shades,  a  yellow  inn  under 
a  yellow  moon — then  silence,  where  crescendo  laughter  fades  .  .  . 
the  car  swung  out  again  to  the  winds  of  June,  mellowed  the  shadows 
where  the  distance  grew,  then  crushed  the  yellow  shadows  into 
blue.  .  .  . 

They  jolted  to  a  stop,  and  Amory  peered  up,  startled. 
A  woman  was  standing  beside  the  road,  talking  to  Alec 
at  the  wheel.  Afterward  he  remembered  the  harpy 
effect  that  her  old  kimono  gave  her,  and  the  cracked 
hollowness  of  her  voice  as  she  spoke: 

"You  Princeton  boys?" 

"Yes." 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  95 

"Well,  there's  one  of  you  killed  here,  and  two  others 
about  dead." 

"My  God!" 

"Look!"  She  pointed  and  they  gazed  in  horror. 
Under  the  full  light  of  a  roadside  arc-light  lay  a  form, 
face  downward  in  a  widening  circle  of  blood. 

They  sprang  from  the  car.  Amory  thought  of  the 
back  of  that  head — that  hair — that  hair  .  .  .  and  then 
they  turned  the  form  over. 

"It's  Dick— Dick  Humbird!" 

"Oh,  Christ!" 

"Feel  his  heart!" 

Then  the  insistent  voice  of  the  old  crone  in  a  sort  of 
croaking  triumph: 

"He's  quite  dead,  all  right.  The  car  turned  over. 
Two  of  the  men  that  weren't  hurt  just  carried  the  others 
in,  but  this  one's  no  use." 

Amory  rushed  into  the  house  and  the  rest  followed 
with  a  limp  mass  that  they  laid  on  the  sofa  in  the  shoddy 
little  front  parlor.  Sloane,  with  his  shoulder  punctured, 
was  on  another  lounge.  He  was  half  delirious,  and  kept 
calling  something  about  a  chemistry  lecture  at  8:10. 

"I  don't  know  what  happened,"  said  Ferrenby  in  a 
strained  voice.  "Dick  was  driving  and  he  wouldn't 
give  up  the  wheel;  we  told  him  he'd  been  drinking  too 
much — then  there  was  this  damn  curve — oh,  my 
God!  ..."  He  threw  himself  face  downward  on  the 
floor  and  broke  into  dry  sobs. 

The  doctor  had  arrived,  and  Amory  went  over  to  the 
couch,  where  some  one  handed  him  a  sheet  to  put  over 
the  body.  With  a  sudden  hardness,  he  raised  one  of 
the  hands  and  let  it  fall  back  inertly.  The  brow  was 
cold  but  the  face  not  expressionless.  He  looked  at  the 
shoe-laces — Dick  had  tied  them  that  morning.  He  had 
tied  them — and  now  he  was  this  heavy  white  mass. 


96  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

All  that  remained  of  the  charm  and  personality  of  the 
Dick  Humbird  he  had  known — oh,  it  was  all  so  horrible 
and  unaristocratic  and  close  to  the  earth.  All  tragedy 
has  that  strain  of  the  grotesque  and  squalid — so  useless, 
futile  .  .  .  the  way  animals  die.  .  .  .  Amory  was  re- 
minded of  a  cat  that  had  lain  horribly  mangled  in  some 
alley  of  his  childhood. 

"Some  one  go  to  Princeton  with  Ferrenby." 
Amory  stepped  outside  the  door  and  shivered  slightly 
at  the  late  night  wind — a  wind  that  stirred  a  broken 
fender  on  the  mass  of  bent  metal  to  a  plaintive,  tinny 
sound. 

CRESCENDO  ! 

Next  day,  by  -a  merciful  chance,  passed  in  a  whirl. 
When  Amory  was  by  himself  his  thoughts  zigzagged 
inevitably  to  the  picture  of  that  red  mouth  yawning 
incongruously  in  the  white  face,  but  with  a  determined 
effort  he  piled  present  excitement  upon  the  memory  of 
it  and  shut  it  coldly  away  from  his  mind. 

IsabeBe  and  her  mother  drove  into  town  at  four,  and 
they  rode  up  smiling  Prospect  Avenue,  through  the  gay 
crowd,  to  have  tea  at  Cottage.  The  dubs  had  their 
annual  dinners  that  night,  so  at  seven  he  loaned  her  to 
a  freshman  and  arranged  to  meet  her  in  the  gymnasium 
at  eleven,  when  the  upper  classmen  were  admitted  to 
the  freshman  dance.  She  was  all  he  had  expected,  and 
he  was  happy  and  eager  to  make  that  night  the  centre 
of  every  dream.  At  nine  the  upper  classes  stood  in 
front  of  the  clubs  as  the  freshman  torchlight  parade 
rioted  past,  and  Amory  wondered  if  the  dress-suited 
groups  against  the  dark,  stately  backgrounds  and  under 
the  flare  of  the  torches  made  the  night  as  brilliant  to 
the  staring,  cheering  freshmen  as  it  had  been  to  him  the 
year  before. 


SPIRES  AND   GARGOYLES  97 

The  next  day  was  another  whirl.  They  lunched  in  a 
gay  party  of  six  in  a  private  dining-room  at  the  dub, 
while  Isabelle  and  Amory  looked  at  each  other  tenderly 
over  the  fried  chicken  and  knew  that  their  love  was  to 
be  eternal.  They  danced  away  the  prom  until  five, 
and  the  stags  cut  in  on  Isabelle  with  joyous  abandon, 
which  grew  more  and  more  enthusiastic  as  the  hour 
grew  late,  and  their  wines,  stored  in  overcoat  pockets 
in  the  coat  room,  made  old  weariness  wait  until  another 
day.  The  stag  line  is  a  most  homogeneous  mass  of 
men.  It  fairly  sways  with  a  single  soul.  A  dark-haired 
beauty  dances  by  and  there  is  a  half-gasping  sound  as 
the  ripple  surges  forward  and  some  one  sleeker  than  the 
rest  darts  out  and  cuts  in.  Then  when  the  six-foot  girl 
(brought  by  Kaye  in  your  class,  and  to  whom  he  has 
been  trying  to  introduce  you  all  evening)  gallops  by, 
the  line  surges  back  and  the  groups  face  about  and  be- 
come intent  on  far  corners  of  the  hall,  for  Kaye,  anxious 
and  perspiring,  appears  elbowing  through  the  crowd  in 
search  of  familiar  faces. 

"I  say,  old  man,  I've  got  an  awfully  nice — 

"Sorry,  Kaye,  but  I'm  set  for  this  one.  I've  got  to 
cut  in  on  a  fella." 

"Well,  the  next  one?" 

"What — ah — er — I  swear  I've  got  to  go  cut  in — look 
me  up  when  she's  got  a  dance  free." 

It  delighted  Amory  when  Isabelle  suggested  that  they 
leave  for  a  while  and  drive  around  in  her  car.  For  a 
delicious  hour  that  passed  too  soon  they  glided  the 
silent  roads  about  Princeton  and  talked  from  the  sur- 
face of  their  hearts  in  shy  excitement.  Amory  felt 
strangely  ingenuous  and  made  no  attempt  to  kiss  her. 

Next  day  they  rode  up  through  the  Jersey  country, 
had  luncheon  in  New  York,  and  in  the  afternoon  went 
to  see  a  problem  play  at  which  Isabelle  wept  all  through 


98  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

the  second  act,  rather  to  Amory's  embarrassment — 
though  it  filled  him  with  tenderness  to  watch  her.  He 
was  tempted  to  lean  over  and  kiss  away  her  tears,  and 
she  slipped  her  hand  into  his  under  cover  of  darkness 
to  be  pressed  softly. 

Then  at  six  they  arrived  at  the  Borges'  summer  place 
on  Long  Island,  and  Amory  rushed  up-stairs  to  change 
into  a  dinner  coat.  As  he  put  in  his  studs  he  realized 
that  he  was  enjoying  life  as  he  would  probably  never 
enjoy  it  again.  Everything  was  hallowed  by  the  haze 
of  his  own  youth.  He  had  arrived,  abreast  of  the  best 
in  his  generation  at  Princeton.  He  was  in  love  and  his 
love  was  returned.  Turning  on  all  the  lights,  he  looked 
at  himself  in  the  mirror,  trying  to  find  in  his  own  face 
the  qualities  that  made  him  see  clearer  than  the  great 
crowd  of  people,  that  made  him  decide  firmly,  and  able 
to  influence  and  follow  his  own  will.  There  was  little 
in  his  life  now  that  he  would  have  changed.  .  .  .  Ox- 
ford might  have  been  a  bigger  field. 

Silently  he  admired  himself.  How  conveniently  well 
he  looked,  and  how  well  a  dinner  coat  became  him.  He 
stepped  into  the  hall  and  then  waited  at  the  top  of  the 
stairs,  for  he  heard  footsteps  coming.  It  was  Isabelle, 
and  from  the  top  of  her  shining  hair  to  her  little  golden 
slippers  she  had  never  seemed  so  beautiful. 

"Isabelle!"  he  cried,  half  involuntarily,  and  held  out 
his  arms.  As  in  the  story-books,  she  ran  into  them, 
and  on  that  half-minute,  as  their  lips  first  touched, 
rested  the  high  point  of  vanity,  the  crest  of  his  young 
egotism. 


CHAPTER  III 
THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS 

"Oucn!    Let  me  go!" 

He  dropped  his  arms  to  his  sides. 

"What's  the  matter?" 

"  Your  shirt  stud — it  hurt  me — look ! "  She  was  look- 
ing down  at  her  neck,  where  a  little  blue  spot  about 
the  size  of  a  pea  marred  its  pallor. 

"Oh,  Isabelle,"  he  reproached  himself,  "I'm  a  goo- 
pher.  Really,  I'm  sorry — I  shouldn't  have  held  you  so 
close." 

She  looked  up  impatiently. 

"Oh,  Amory,  of  course  you  couldn't  help  it,  and  it 
didn't  hurt  much;  but  what  are  we  going  to  do  about 
it?" 

"Do  about  it?"  he  asked.  "Oh— that  spot;  it'll  dis- 
appear in  a  second." 

"It  isn't,"  she  said,  after  a  moment  of  concentrated 
gazing,  "it's  still  there — and  it  looks  like  Old  Nick — oh, 
Amory,  what'll  we  do !  It's  just  the  height  of  your 
shoulder." 

"Massage  it,"  he  suggested,  repressing  the  faintest 
inclination  to  laugh. 

She  rubbed  it  delicately  with  the  tips  of  her  fingers, 
and  then  a  tear  gathered  in  the  corner  of  her  eye,  and 
slid  down  her  cheek. 

"Oh,  Amory,"  she  said  despairingly,  lifting  up  a  most 
pathetic  face,  "I'll  just  make  my  whole  neck  flame  if  I 
rub  it.  What'll  I  do?" 

99 


ioo  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

A  quotation  sailed  into  his  head  and  he  couldn't  resist 
repeating  it  aloud. 

"All  the  perfumes  of  Arabia  will  not  whiten  this  little  hand." 

She  looked  up  and  the  sparkle  of  the  tear  in  her  eye 
was  like  ice. 

"You're  not  very  sympathetic." 

Amory  mistook  her  meaning. 

"Isabelle,  darling,  I  think  it'll "      v 

"Don't  touch  me!"  she  cried.  "Haven't  I  enough 
on  my  mind  and  you  stand  there  and  laugh!" 

Then  he  slipped  again. 

"Well,  it  is  funny,  Isabelle,  and  we  were  talking  the 
other  day  about  a  sense  of  humor  being 

She  was  looking  at  him  with  something  that  was  not 
a  smile,  rather  the  faint,  mirthless  echo  of  a  smile,  in  the 
corners  of  her  mouth. 

"Oh,  shut  up!"  she  cried  suddenly,  and  fled  down 
the  hallway  toward  her  room.  Amory  stood  there, 
covered  with  remorseful  confusion. 

"Damn!" 

When  Isabelle  reappeared  she  had  thrown  a  light 
wrap  about  her  shoulders,  and  they  descended  the  stairs 
in  a  silence  that  endured  through  dinner. 

"Isabelle,"  he  began  rather  testily,  as  they  arranged 
themselves  in  the  car,  bound  for  a  dance  at  the  ,Green- 
wich  Country  Club,  "you're  angry,  and  I'll  be,  too,  in 
a  minute.  Let's  kiss  and  make  up." 

Isabelle  considered  glumly. 

"I  hate  to  be  laughed  at,"  she  said  finally. 

"I  won't  laugh  any  more.  I'm  not  laughing  now, 
ami?" 

"You  did." 

"Oh,  don't  be  so  darned  feminine." 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  101 

Her  lips  curled  slightly. 

"FU  be  anything  I  want" 

Amory  kept  his  temper  with  difficulty.  He  became 
aware  that  he  had  not  an  ounce  of  real  affection  for  Isa- 
belle,  but  her  coldness  piqued  him.  He  wanted  to  kiss 
her,  kiss  her  a  lot,  because  then  he  knew  he  could  leave 
in  the  morning  and  not  care.  On  the  contrary,  if  he 
didn't  kiss  her,  it  would  worry  him.  ...  It  would  in- 
terfere vaguely  with  his  idea  of  himself  as  a  conqueror. 
It  wasn't  dignified  to  come  off  second  best,  pleading,  with 
a  doughty  warrior  like  IsabeUe. 

Perhaps  she  suspected  this.  At  any  rate,  Amory 
watched  the  night  that  should  have  been  the  consum- 
mation of  romance  glide  by  with  great  moths  overhead 
and  the  heavy  fragrance  of  roadside  gardens,  but  with- 
out those  broken  words,  those  little  sighs.  .  .  . 

Afterward  they  suppered  on  ginger  ale  and  devil's 
food  in  the  pantry,  and  Amory  announced  a  decision. 

"I'm  leaving  early  in  the  morning." 

"Why?" 

"Why  not?"  he  countered. 

"There's  no  need." 

"However,  I'm  going." 

"Well,  if  you  insist  on  being  ridiculous " 

"Oh,  don't  put  it  that  way,"  he  objected. 

" — just  because  I  won't  let  you  kiss  me.  Do  you 
think " 

"Now,  Isabelle,"  he  interrupted,  "you  know  it's  not 
that — even  suppose  it  is.  We've  reached  the  stage 
where  we  either  ought  to  kiss — or — or — nothing.  It 
isn't  as  if  you  were  refusing  on  moral  grounds." 

She  hesitated. 

"I  really  don't  know  what  to  think  about  you/'  she 
began,  in  a  feeble,  perverse  attempt  at  conciliation. 
"You're  so  funny." 


102  THIS   SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"How?" 

"Well,  I  thought  you  had  a  lot  of  self-confidence  and 
all  that;  remember  you  told  me  the  other  day  that  you 
could  do  anything  you  wanted,  or  get  anything  you 
wanted?" 

Amory  flushed.     He  had  told  her  a  lot  of  things. 

"Yes." 

"Well,  you  didn't  seem  to  feel  so  self-confident  to- 
night. Maybe  you're  just  plain  conceited." 

"No,  I'm  not,"  he  hesitated.     "At  Princeton^—" 

"Oh,  you  and  Princeton!  You'd  think  that  was  the 
world,  the  way  you  talk !  Perhaps  you  can  write  better 
than  anybody  else  on  your  old  Princetonian;  maybe  the 
freshmen  do  think  you're  important ' 

"You  don't  understand " 

"Yes,  I  do,"  she  interrupted.  "I  do,  because  you're 
always  talking  about  yourself  and  I  used  to  like  it; 
now  I  don't" 

"Have  I  to-night?" 

"That's  just  the  point,"  insisted  Isabelle.  "You  got 
all  upset  to-night.  You  just  sat  and  watched  my  eyes. 
Besides,  I  have  to  think  all  the  time  I'm  talking  to  you 
— you're  so  critical." 

"I  make  you  think,  do  I?"  Amory  repeated  with  a 
touch  of  vanity. 

"You're  a  nervous  strain" — this  emphatically — "and 
when  you  analyze  every  little  emotion  and  instinct  I 
Just  don't  have  'em." 

"I  know."  Amory  admitted  her  point  and  shook  his 
head  helplessly. 

"Let's  go."    She  stood  up. 

He  rose  abstractedly  and  they  walked  to  the  foot  of 
the  stairs. 

"What  train  can  I  get?" 

"There's  one  about  9:11  if  you  really  must  go." 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  103 

"Yes,  I've  got  to  go,  really.     Good  night." 

"Goodnight" 

They  were  at  the  head  of  the  stairs,  and  as  Amory 
turned  into  his  room  he  thought  he  caught  just  the  faint- 
est cloud  of  discontent  in  her  face.  He  lay  awake  in  the 
darkness  and  wondered  how  much  he  cared — how  much 
of  his  sudden  unhappiness  was  hurt  vanity — whether  he 
was,  after  all,  temperamentally  unfitted  for  romance. 

When  he  awoke,  it  was  with  a  glad  flood  of  conscious- 
ness. The  early  wind  stirred  the  chintz  curtains  at  the 
windows  and  he  was  idly  puzzled  not  to  be  in  his  room 
at  Princeton  with  his  school  football  picture  over  the 
bureau  and  the  Triangle  Club  on  the  wall  opposite. 
Then  the  grandfather's  clock  in  the  hall  outside  struck 
eight,  and  the  memory  of  the  night  before  came  to  him. 
He  was  out  of  bed,  dressing,  like  the  wind;  he  must  get 
out  of  the  house  before  he  saw  Isabelle.  What  had 
seemed  a  melancholy  happening,  now  seemed  a  tiresome 
anticlimax.  He  was  dressed  at  half  past,  so  he  sat 
down  by  the  window;  felt  that  the  sinews  of  his  heart 
were  twisted  somewhat  more  than  he  had  thought. 
What  an  ironic  mockery  the  morning  seemed! — bright 
and  sunny,  and  full  of  the  smell  of  the  garden;  hearing 
Mrs.  Borge's  voice  in  the  sun-parlor  below,  he  won- 
dered where  was  Isabelle. 

There  was  a  knock  at  the  door. 

"The  car  will  be  around  at  ten  minutes  of  nine,  sir." 

He  returned  to  his  contemplation  of  the  outdoors, 
and  began  repeating  over  and  over,  mechanically,  a 
verse  from  Browning,  which  he  had  once  quoted  to 
Isabelle  in  a  letter: 

"Each  life  unfulfilled,  you  see, 

It  hangs  still,  patchy  and  scrappy; 
We  have  not  sighed  deep,  laughed  free, 
Starved,  feasted,  despaired — been  happy." 


104  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

But  his  life  would  not  be  unfulfilled.  He  took  a  som- 
bre satisfaction  in  thinking  that  perhaps  all  along  she 
had  been  nothing  except  what  he  had  read  into  her;  that 
this  was  her  high  point,  that  no  one  else  would  ever 
make  her  think.  Yet  that  was  what  she  had  objected 
to  in  him;  and  Amory  was  suddenly  tired  of  thinking, 
thinking! 

"Damn  her!"  he  said  bitterly,  "she's  spoiled  my 
year!" 

THE  SUPERMAN  GROWS  CARELESS 

On  a  dusty  day  in  September  Amory  arrived  in 
Princeton  and  joined  the  sweltering  crowd  of  condi- 
tioned men  who  thronged  the  streets.  It  seemed  a 
stupid  way  to  commence  his  upper-class  years,  to  spend 
four  hours  a  morning  in  the  stuffy  room  of  a  tutoring 
school,  imbibing  the  infinite  boredom  of  conic  sections. 
Mr.  Rooney,  pander  to  the  dull,  conducted  the  class 
and  smoked  innumerable  Pall  Malls  as  he  drew  dia- 
grams and  worked  equations  from  six  in  the  morning 
until  midnight. 

"Now,  Langueduc,  if  I  used  that  formula,  where 
would  my  A  point  be  ?  " 

Langueduc  lazily  shifts  his  six-foot-three  of  football 
material  and  tries  to  concentrate. 

"Oh — ah — I'm  damned  if  I  know,  Mr.  Rooney." 

"Oh,  why  of  course,  of  course  you  can't  use  that 
formula.  That's  what  I  wanted  you  to  say." 

"Why,  sure,  of  course." 

"Do  you  see  why?" 

"You  bet — I  suppose  so." 

"If  you  don't  see,  tell  me.    I'm  here  to  show  you." 

"Well,  Mr.  Rooney,  if  you  don't  mind,  I  wish  you'd 
go  over  that  again." 

"Gladly.    Now  here's ',4'  .  .  ." 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  105 

The  room  was  a  study  in  stupidity — two  huge  stands 
for  paper,  Mr.  Rooney  in  his  shirt-sleeves  in  front  of 
them,  and  slouched  around  on  chairs,  a  dozen  men: 
Fred  Sloane,  the  pitcher,  who  absolutely  had  to  get 
eligible;  "Slim"  Langueduc,  who  would  beat  Yale  this 
fall,  if  only  he  could  master  a  poor  fifty  per  cent;  Mc- 
Dowell, gay  young  sophomore,  who  thought  it  was 
quite  a  sporting  thing  to  be  tutoring  here  with  all  these 
prominent  athletes. 

"Those  poor  birds  who  haven't  a  cent  to  tutor,  and 
have  to  study  during  the  term  are  the  ones  I  pity,"  he 
announced  to  Amory  one  day,  with  a  flaccid  camaraderie 
in  the  droop  of  the  cigarette  from  his  pale  lips.  "I 
should  think  it  would  be  such  a  bore,  there's  so  much 
else  to  do  in  New  York  during  the  term.  I  suppose 
they  don't  know  what  they  miss,  anyhow."  There  was 
such  an  air  of  "you  and  I"  about  Mr.  McDowell  that 
Amory  very  nearly  pushed  him  out  of  the  open  window 
when  he  said  this.  .  .  .  Next  February  his  mother 
would  wonder  why  he  didn't  make  a  club  and  increase 
his  allowance  .  .  .  simple  little  nut.  .  .  . 

Through  the  smoke  and  the  air  of  solemn,  dense 
earnestness  that  filled  the  room  would  come  the  inevita- 
ble helpless  cry: 

"I  don't  get  it !  Repeat  that,  Mr.  Rooney ! "  Most 
of  them  were  so  stupid  or  careless  that  they  wouldn't 
admit  when  they  didn't  understand,  and  Amory  was 
of  the  latter.  He  found  it  impossible  to  study  conic 
sections;  something  in  their  calm  and  tantalizing  respec- 
tability breathing  defiantly  through  Mr.  Rooney's  fetid 
parlors  distorted  their  equations  into  insoluble  ana- 
grams. He  made  a  last  night's  effort  with  the  prover- 
bial wet  towel,  and  then  blissfully  took  the  exam,  won- 
dering unhappily  why  all  the  color  and  ambition  of  the 
spring  before  had  faded  out.  SomehoWj  with  the  de- 


106  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

fection  of  Isabelle  the  idea  of  undergraduate  success 
had  loosed  its  grasp  on  his  imagination,  and  he  con- 
templated a  possible  failure  to  pass  off  his  condition 
with  equanimity,  even  though  it  would  arbitrarily  mean 
his  removal  from  the  Princeionian  board  and  the  slaugh- 
ter of  his  chances  for  the  Senior  Council. 

There  was  always  his  luck. 

He  yawned,  scribbled  his  honor  pledge  on  the  cover, 
and  sauntered  from  the  room. 

"If  you  don't  pass  it,"  said  the  newly  arrived  Alec 
as  they  sat  on  the  window-seat  of  Amory's  room  and 
mused  upon  a  scheme  of  wall  decoration,  "you're  the 
world's  worst  goopher.  Your  stock  will  go  down  like 
an  elevator  at  the  club  and  on  the  campus." 

"Oh,  hell,  I  know  it.    Why  rub  it  in ? " 

"'Cause  you  deserve  it.  Anybody  that'd  risk  what 
you  were  in  line  for  ought  to  be  ineligible  for  Princetonian 
chairman." 

"Oh,  drop  the  subject,"  Amory  protested.  "Watch 
and  wait  and  shut  up.  I  don't  want  every  one  at  the 
club  asking  me  about  it,  as  if  I  were  a  prize  potato  being 
fattened  for  a  vegetable  show." 

One  evening  a  week  later  Amory  stopped  below  his 
own  window  on  the  way  to  Renwick's,  and,  seeing  a 
light,  called  up: 

"Oh,  Tom,  any  mail?" 

Alec's  head  appeared  against  the  yellow  square  of  light. 

"Yes,  your  result's  here." 

His  heart  clamored  violently. 

"What  is  it,  .blue  or  pink  ?  " 

"Don't  know.    Better  come  up." 

He  walked  into  the  room  and  straight  over  to  the 
table,  and  then  suddenly  noticed  that  there  were  other 
people  in  the  room. 

'Lo,  Kerry."    He  was  most  polite.     "Ah,  men  of 


tin 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  107 

Princeton."  They  seemed  to  be  mostly  friends,  so  he 
picked  up  the  envelope  marked  "Registrar's  Office," 
and  weighed  it  nervously. 

"We  have  here  quite  a  slip  of  paper." 

"Open  it,  Amory." 

"Just  to  be  dramatic,  I'll  let  you  know  that  if  it's 
blue,  my  name  is  withdrawn  from  the  editorial  board 
of  the  Prince,  and  my  short  career  is  over." 

He  paused,  and  then  saw  for  the  first  time  Ferrenby's 
eyes,  wearing  a  hungry  look  and  watching  him  eagerly. 
Amory  returned  the  gaze  pointedly. 

"Watch  my  face,  gentlemen,  for  the  primitive  emo- 
tions." 

He  tore  it  open  and  held  the  slip  up  to  the  light. 

"Well?" 

"Pink  or  blue?" 

"Say  what  it  is." 

"We're  all  ears,  Amory." 

"Smile  or  swear — or  something." 

There  was  a  pause  ...  a  small  crowd  of  seconds 
swept  by  ...  then  he  looked  again  and  another  crowd 
went  on  into  time. 

"Blue  as  the  sky,  gentlemen.  .  .  ." 

AFTERMATH 

What  Amory  did  that  year  from  early  September  to 
late  in  the  spring  was  so  purposeless  and  inconsecutive 
that  it  seems  scarcely  worth  recording.  He  was,  of 
course,  immediately  sorry  for  what  he  had  lost.  His 
philosophy  of  success  had  tumbled  down  upon  him,  and 
he  looked  for  the  reasons.  ' 

"Your  own  laziness,"  said  Alec  later. 

"No — something  deeper  than  that.  I've  begun  to 
feel  that  I  was  meant  to  lose  this  chance." 


io8  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"They're  rather  off  you  at  the  club,  you  know;  every 
man  that  doesn't  come  through  makes  our  crowd  jus* 
so  much  weaker." 

"I  hate  that  point  of  view." 

"Of  course,  with  a  little  effort  you  could  still  stage  a 
comeback." 

"No — I'm  through — as  far  as  ever  being  a  power  in 
college  is  concerned." 

"But,  Amory,  honestly,  what  makes  me  the  angriest 
isn't  the  fact  that  you  won't  be  chairman  of  the  Prince 
and  on  the  Senior  Council,  but  just  that  you  didn't  get 
down  and  pass  that  exam." 

"Not  me,"  said  Amory  slowly;  "I'm  mad  at  the  con- 
crete thing.  My  own  idleness  was  quite  in  accord  with 
my  system,  but  the  luck  broke." 

"Your  system  broke,  you  mean." 

"Maybe." 

"Well,  what  are  you  going  to  do?  Get  a  better  one 
quick,  or  just  bum  around  for  two  more  years  as  a  has- 
been?" 

"I  don't  know  yet  .  .  ." 

•'Oh,  Amory,  buck  up !" 

"Maybe." 

Amory's  point  of  view,  though  dangerous,  was  not 
far  from  the  true  one.  If  his  reactions  to  his  environ- 
ment could  be  tabulated,  the  chart  would  have  appeared 
like  this,  beginning  with  his  earliest  years: 

1.  The  fundamental  Amory. 

2.  Amory  plus  Beatrice. 

3.  Amory  plus  Beatrice  plus  Minneapolis. 

Then  St.  Regis'  had  pulled  him  to  pieces  and  started 
him  over  again: 

4.  Amory  plus  St.  Regis'. 

5.  Ainory  plus  St.  Regis'  plus  Princeton. 

That  had  been  his  nearest  approach  to  success  through 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  109 

conformity.  The  fundamental  Amory,  idle,  imagina- 
tive, rebellious,  had  been  nearly  snowed  under.  He 
had  conformed,  he  had  succeeded,  but  as  his  imagina- 
tion was  neither  satisfied  nor  grasped  by  his  own  success, 
he  had  listlessly,  half-accidentally  chucked  the  whole 
thing  and  become  again: 
.  6.  The  fundamental  Amory. 

FINANCIAL 

His  father  died  quietly  and  inconspicuously  at  Thanks- 
giving. The  incongruity  of  death  with  either  the  beau- 
ties of  Lake  Geneva  or  with  his  mother's  dignified,  reti- 
cent attitude  diverted  him,  and  he  looked  at  the  funeral 
with  an  amused  tolerance.  He  decided  that  burial  was 
after  all  preferable  to  cremation,  and  he  smiled  at  his 
old  boyhood  choice,  slow  oxidation  in  the  top  of  a  tree. 
The  day  after  the  ceremony  he  was  amusing  himself  in 
the  great  library  by  sinking  back  on  a  couch  in  graceful 
mortuary  attitudes,  trying  to  determine  whether  he 
would,  when  his  day  came,  be  found  with  his  arms 
crossed  piously  over  his  chest  (Monsignor  Darcy  had 
once  advocated  this  posture  as  being  the  most  distin- 
guished), or  with  his  hands  clasped  behind  his  head,  a 
more  pagan  and  Byronic  attitude. 

What  interested  him  much  more  than  the  final  de- 
parture of  his  father  from  things  mundane  was  a  tri- 
cornered  conversation  between  Beatrice,  Mr.  Barton, 
of  Barton  and  Krogman,  their  lawyers,  and  himself, 
that  took  place  several  days  after  the  funeral.  For  the 
first  time  he  came  into  actual  cognizance  of  the  family 
finances,  and  realized  what  a  tidy  fortune  had  once 
been  under  his  father's  management.  He  took  a  ledger 
labelled  "1906"  and  ran  through  it  rather  carefully. 
The  total  expenditure  that  year  had  come  to  something 


no  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

over  one  hundred  and  ten  thousand  dollars.  Forty 
thousand  of  this  had  been  Beatrice's  own  income,  and 
there  had  been  no  attempt  to  account  for  it:  it  was  all 
under  the  heading,  "Drafts,  checks,  and  letters  of  credit 
forwarded  to  Beatrice  Blaine."  The  dispersal  of  the 
rest  was  rather  minutely  itemized:  the  taxes  and  im- 
provements on  the  Lake  Geneva  estate  had  come  to 
almost  nine  thousand  dollars;  the  general  up-keep,  in- 
cluding Beatrice's  electric  and  a  French  car,  bought  that 
year,  was  over  thirty-five  thousand  dollars.  The  rest 
was  fully  taken  care  of,  and  there  were  invariably  items 
which  failed  to  balance  on  the  right  side  of  the  ledger. 

In  the  volume  for  1912  Amory  was  shocked  to  dis- 
cover the  decrease  in  the  number  of  bond  holdings  and 
the  great  drop  in  the  income.  In  the  case  of  Beatrice's 
money  this  was  not  so  pronounced,  but  it  was  obvious 
that  his  father  had  devoted  the  previous  year  to  several 
unfortunate  gambles  in  oil.  Very  little  of  the  oil  had 
been  burned,  but  Stephen  Blaine  had  been  rather  badly 
singed.  The  next  year  and  the  next  and  the  next 
showed  similar  decreases,  and  Beatrice  had  for  the  first 
time  begun  using  her  own  money  for  keeping  up  the 
house.  Yet  her  doctor's  bill  for  1913  had  been  over 
nine  thousand  dollars. 

About  the  exact  state  of  things  Mr.  Barton  was 
quite  vague  and  confused.  There  had  been  recent  in- 
vestments, the  outcome  of  which  was  for  the  present 
problematical,  and  he  had  an  idea  there  were  further 
speculations  and  exchanges  concerning  which  he  had 
not  been  consulted. 

It  was  not  for  several  months  that  Beatrice  wrote 
Amory  the  full  situation.  The  entire  residue  of  the 
Blaine  and  O'Hara  fortunes  consisted  of  the  place  at 
Lake  Geneva  and  approximately  a  half  million  dollars, 
invested  now  in  fairly  conservative  six-per-cent  hold- 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  in 

Ings.  In  fact,  Beatrice  wrote  that  she  was  putting  the 
money  into  railroad  and  street-car  bonds  as  fast  as  she 
could  conveniently  transfer  it. 

"I  am  quite  sure,"  she  wrote  to  Amory,  "that  if  there  is  one 
thing  we  can  be  positive  of,  it  is  that  people  will  not  stay  in  one 
place.  This  Ford  person  has  certainly  made  the  most  of  that 
idea.  So  I  am  instructing  Mr.  Barton  to  specialize  on  such 
things  as  Northern  Pacific  and  these  Rapid  Transit  Companies, 
as  they  call  the  street-cars.  I  shall  never  forgive  myself  for  not 
buying  Bethlehem  Steel.  I've  heard  the  most  fascinating  stories. 
You  must  go  into  finance,  Amory.  I'm  sure  you  would  revel 
in  it.  You  start  as  a  messenger  or  a  teller,  I  believe,  and  from 
that  you  go  up — almost  indefinitely.  I'm  sure  if  I  were  a  man 
I'd  love  the  handling  of  money;  it  has  become  quite  a  senile 
passion  with  me.  Before  I  get  any  farther  I  want  to  discuss 
something.  A  Mrs.  Bispam,  an  overcordial  little  lady  whom 
I  met  at  a  tea  the  other  day,  told  me  that  her  son,  he  is  at  Yale, 
wrote  her  that  all  the  boys  there  wore  their  summer  underwear 
all  during  the  winter,  and  also  went  about  with  their  heads  wet 
and  in  low  shoes  on  the  coldest  days.  Now,  Amory,  I  don't 
know  whether  that  is  a  fad  at  Princeton  too,  but  I  don't  want 
you  to  be  so  foolish.  It  not  only  inclines  a  young  man  to 
pneumonia  and  infantile  paralysis,  but  to  all  forms  of  lung 
trouble,  to  which  you  are  particularly  inclined.  You  cannot 
experiment  with  your  health.  I  have  found  that  out.  I  will 
not  make  myself  ridiculous  as  some  mothers  no  doubt  do,  by 
insisting  that  you  wear  overshoes,  though  I  remember  one  Christ- 
mas you  wore  them  around  constantly  without  a  single  buckle 
latched,  making  such  a  curious  swishing  sound,  and  you  refused 
to  buckle  them  because  it  was  not  the  thing  to  do.  The  very 
next  Christmas  you  would  not  wear  even  rubbers,  though  I 
begged  you.  You  are  nearly  twenty  years  old  now,  dear,  and 
I  can't  be  with  you  constantly  to  find  whether  you  are  doing  the 
sensible  thing. 

"  This  has  been  a  very  practical  letter.  I  warned  you  in  my 
last  that  the  lack  of  money  to  do  the  things  one  wants  to  makes 
one  quite  prosy  and  domestic,  but  there  is  still  plenty  for  every- 
thing if  we  are  not  too  extravagant.  Take  care  of  yourself,  my 
dear  boy,  and  do  try  to  write  at  least  once  a  week,  because  I 
imagine  all  sorts  of  horrible  things  if  I  don't  hear  from  you. 

Affectionately,  MOTHER." 


ii2  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 


FIRST  APPEARANCE  OF  THE  TERM  "PERSONAGE" 

Monsignor  Darcy  invited  Amory  up  to  the  Stuart 
palace  on  the  Hudson  for  a  week  at  Christmas,  and  they 
had  enormous  conversations  around  the  open  fire.  Mon- 
signor was  growing  a  trifle  stouter  and  his  personality 
had  expanded  even  with  that,  and  Amory  felt  both  rest 
and  security  in  sinking  into  a  squat,  cushioned  chair 
and  joining  him  in  the  middle-aged  sanity  of  a  cigar. 

"I've  felt  like  leaving  college,  Monsigno*r." 

"Why?" 

"All  my  career's  gone  up  in  smoke;  you  think  it's 
petty  and  all  that,  but " 

"Not  at  all  petty.  I  think  it's  most  important.  I 
want  to  hear  the  whole  thing.  Everything  you've  been 
doing  since  I  saw  you  last." 

Amory  talked;  he  went  thoroughly  into  the  destruc- 
tion of  his  egotistic  highways,  and  in  a  half-hour  the 
listless  quality  had  left  his  voice. 

"What  would  you  do  if  you  left  college?"  asked 
Monsignor. 

"Don't  know.  I'd  like  to  travel,  but  of  course  this 
tiresome  war  prevents  that.  Anyways,  mother  would 
hate  not  having  me  graduate.  I'm  just  at  sea.  Kerry 
Holiday  wants  me  to  go  over  with  him  and  join  the  La- 
fayette Esquadrille." 

"You  know  you  wouldn't  like  to  go." 

"Sometimes  I  would — to-night  I'd  go  in  a  second." 

"Well,  you'd  have  to  be  very  much  more  tired  of  life 
than  I  think  you  are.  I  know  you." 

"I'm  afraid  you  do,"  agreed  Amory  reluctantly.  "It 
just  seemed  an  easy  way  out  of  everything — when  I 
think  of  another  useless,  draggy  year." 

"Yes,  I  know;  but  to  tell  you  the  truth,  I'm  not  wor- 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  113 

ried  about  you;  you  seem  to  me  to  be  progressing  per- 
fectly naturally." 

"No,"  Amory  objected.  "I've  lost  half  my  person- 
ality in  a  year." 

"Not  a  bit  of  it!"  scoffed  Monsignor.  "You've  lost 
a  great  amount  of  vanity  and  that's  all." 

"Lordy!  I  feel,  anyway,  as  if  I'd  gone  through 
another  fifth  form  at  St.  Regis's." 

"No."  Monsignor  shook  his  head.  "That  was  a 
misfortune;  this  has  been  a  good  thing.  Whatever 
worth  while  comes  to  you,  won't  be  through  the 
channels  you  were  searching  last  year." 

"What  could  be  more  unprofitable  than  my  present 
lack  of  pep?" 

"Perhaps  in  itself  .  .  .  but  you're  developing.  This 
has  given  you  time  to  think  and  you're  casting  off  a  lot 
of  your  old  luggage  about  success  and  the  superman 
and  all.  People  like  us  can't  adopt  whole  theories,  as 
you  (fid.  If  we  can  do  the  next  thing,  and  have  an 
hour  a  day  to  think  in,  we  can  accomplish  marvels,  but 
as  far  as  any  high-handed  scheme  of  blind  dominance  is 
concerned — we'd  just  make  asses  of  ourselves." 

"But,  Monsignor,  I  can't  do  the  next  thing." 

"Amory,  between  you  and  me,  I  have  only  just  learned 
to  do  it  myself.  I  can  do  the  one  hundred  things  be- 
yond the  next  thing,  but  I  stub  my  toe  on  that,  just  as 
you  stubbed  your  toe  on  mathematics  this  fall." 

"Why  do  we  have  to  do  the  next  thing?  It  never 
seems  the  sort  of  thing  I  should  do." 

"We  have  to  do  it  because  we're  not  personalities, 
but  personages." 

"That's  a  good  line — what  do  you  mean?" 

"A  personality  is  what  you  thought  you  were,  what 
this  Kerry  and  Sloane  you  tell  me  of  evidently  are.  Per- 
sonality is  a  physical  matter  almost  entirely;  it  lowers 


ii4  THIS   SIDE   OF  PARADISE 

the  people  it  acts  on — I've  seen  it  vanish  in  a  long  sick- 
ness. But  while  a  personality  is  active,  it  overrides 
'the  next  thing.'  Now  a  personage,  on  the  other  hand, 
gathers.  He  is  never  thought  of  apart  from  what  he's 
done.  He's  a  bar  on  which  a  thousand  things  have  been 
hung — glittering  things  sometimes,  as  ours  are;  but  he 
uses  those  things  with  a  cold  mentality  back  of  them." 

"And  several  of  my  most  glittering  possessions  had 
fallen  off  when  I  needed  them."  Amory  continued  the 
simile  eagerly. 

"Yes,  that's  it;  when  you  feel  that  your  garnered 
prestige  and  talents  and  all  that  are  hung  out,  you  need 
never  bother  about  anybody;  you  can  cope  with  them 
without  difficulty." 

"But,  on  the  other  hand,  if  I  haven't  my  possessions, 
I'm  helpless!" 

"Absolutely." 

"That's  certainly  an  idea." 

"Now  you've  a  clean  start — a  start  Kerry  or  Sloane 
can  constitutionally  never  have.  You  brushed  three  or 
four  ornaments  down,  and,  in  a  fit  of  pique,  knocked  off 
the  rest  of  them.  The  thing  new  is  to  collect  some  new 
ones,  and  the  farther  you  look  ahead  in  the  collecting 
the  better.  But  remember,  do  the  next  thing ! " 

"How  clear  you  can  make  things!" 

So  they  talked,  often  about  themselves,  sometimes  of 
philosophy  and  religion,  and  life  as  respectively  a  game 
or  a  mystery.  The  priest  seemed  to  guess  Amory's 
thoughts  before  they  were  clear  in  his  own  head,  so 
closely  related  were  their  minds  in  form  and  groove. 

"Why  do  I  make  lists?"  Amory  asked  him  one  night. 
"Lists  of  all  sorts  of  things?" 

"Because  you're  a  mediaevalist,"  Monsignor  answered. 
"We  both  are.  It's  the  passion  for  classifying  and  find- 
ing a  type." 

"It's  a  desire  to  get  something  definite." 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  115 

"It's  the  nucleus  of  scholastic  philosophy." 

"I  was  beginning  to  think  I  was  growing  eccentric  till 
I  came  up  here.  It  was  a  pose,  I  guess." 

"Don't  worry  about  that;  for  you  not  posing  may  be 
the  biggest  pose  of  all.  Pose " 

"Yes?" 

"But  do  the  next  thing." 

After  Amory  returned  to  college  he  received  several 
letters  from  Monsignor  which  gave  him  more  egotistic 
food  for  consumption. 

I  am  afraid  that  I  gave  you  too  much  assurance  of  your 
inevitable  safety,  and  you  must  remember  that  I  did  that 
through  faith  in  your  springs  of  effort;  not  in  the  silly  conviction 
that  you  will  arrive  without  struggle.  Some  nuances  of  char- 
acter you  will  have  to  take  for  granted  in  yourself,  though  you 
must  be  careful  in  confessing  them  to  others.  You  are  unsen- 
timental, almost  incapable  of  affection,  astute  without  being 
cunning  and  vain  without  being  proud. 

Don't  let  yourself  feel  worthless;  often  through  life  you  will 
really  be  at  your  worst  when  you  seem  to  think  best  of  yourself; 
and  don't  worry  about  losing  your  "personality,"  as  you  per- 
sist in  calling  it;  at  fifteen  you  had  the  radiance  of  early  morn- 
ing, at  twenty  you  will  begin  to  have  the  melancholy  brilliance 
of  the  moon,  and  when  you  are  my  age  you  will  give  out,  as  I 
do,  the  genial  golden  warmth  of  4  P.  M. 

If  you  write  me  letters,  please  let  them  be  natural  ones. 
Your  last,  that  dissertation  on  architecture,  was  perfectly  awful 
— so  "highbrow"  that  I  picture  you  living  in  an  intellectual  and 
emotional  vacuum;  and  beware  of  trying  to  classify  people  too 
definitely  into  types;  you  will  find  that  all  through  their  youth 
they  will  persist  annoyingly  in  jumping  from  class  to  class,  and 
by  pasting  a  supercilious  label  on  every  one  you  meet  you  are 
merely  packing  a  Jack-in-the-box  that  will  spring  up  and  leer 
at  you  when  you  begin  to  come  into  really  antagonistic  contact 
with  the  world.  An  idealization  of  some  such  a  man  as  Leonardo 
da  Vinci  would  be  a  more  valuable  beacon  to  you  at  present. 

You  are  bound  to  go  up  and  down,  just  as  I  did  in  my  youth, 
but  do  keep  your  clarity  of  mind,  and  if  fools  or  sages  dare  to 
criticise  don't  blame  yourself  too  much. 

You  say  that  convention  is  all  that  really  keeps  you  straight 


n6  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

in  this  "woman  proposition";  but  it's  more  than  that,  Amory; 
it's  the  fear  that  what  you  begin  you  can't  stop;  you  would  run 
amuck,  and  I  know  whereof  I  speak;  it's  that  half-miraculous 
sixth  sense  by  which  you  detect  evil,  it's  the  half-realized  fear 
of  God  in  your  heart. 

Whatever  your  metier  proves  to  be — religion,  architecture,  lit- 
erature— I'm  sure  you  would  be  much  safer  anchored  to  the 
Churcb,  but  I  won't  risk  my  influence  by  arguing  with  you 
even  though  I  am  secretly  sure  that  the  "black  chasm  of  Ro- 
manism" yawns  beneath  you.  Do  write  me  soon. 

With  affectionate  regards, 

THAYER  DARCY. 

Even  Amory's  reading  paled  during  this  period;  he 
delved  further  into  the  misty  side  streets  of  literature: 
Huysmans,  Walter  Pater,  Theophile  Gautier,  and  the 
racier  sections  of  Rabelais,  Boccaccio,  Petronius,  and 
Suetonius.  One  week,  through  general  curiosity,  he  in- 
spected the  private  libraries  of  his  classmates  and  found 
Sloane's  as  typical  as  any:  sets  of  Kipling,  O.  Henry, 
John  Fox,  Jr..  and  Richard  Harding  Davis;  "What 
Every  Middle- Aged  Woman  Ought  to  Know,"  "The 
Spell  of  the  Yukon";  a  "gift"  copy  of  James  Whitcomb 
Riley,  an  assortment  of  battered,  annotated  school- 
books,  and,  finally,  to  his  surprise,  one  of  his  own  late 
discoveries,  the  collected  poems  of  Rupert  Brooke. 

Together  with  Tom  D'Invilliers,  he  sought  among  the 
lights  of  Princeton  for  some  one  who  might  found  the 
Great  American  Poetic  Tradition. 

The  undergraduate  body  itself  was  rather  more  inter- 
esting that  year  than  had  been  the  entirely  Philistine 
Princeton  of  two  years  before.  Things  had  livened  sur- 
prisingly, though  at  the  sacrifice  of  much  of  the  sponta- 
neous charm  of  freshman  year.  In  the  old  Princeton 
they  would  never  have  discovered  Tanaduke  Wylie. 
Tanaduke  was  a  sophomore,  with  tremendous  ears  and 
a  way  of  saying,  "The  earth  swirls  down  through  the 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  117 

ominous  moons  of  preconsidered  generations!"  that 
made  them  vaguely  wonder  why  it  did  not  sound  quite 
clear,  but  never  question  that  it  was  the  utterance  of  a 
supersoul.  At  least  so  Tom  and  Amory  took  him. 
They  told  him  in  all  earnestness  that  he  had  a  mind  like 
Shelley's,  and  featured  his  ultrafree  free  verse  and 
prose  poetry  in  the  Nassau  Literary  Magazine.  But 
Tanaduke's  genius  absorbed  the  many  colors  of  the  age, 
and  he  took  to  the  Bohemian  life,  to  their  great  disap- 
pointment. He  talked  of  Greenwich  Village  now  in- 
stead of  "noon-swirled  moons,"  and  met  winter  muses, 
unacademic,  and  cloistered  by  Forty-second  Street  and 
Broadway,  instead  of  the  Shelleyan  dream-children  with 
whom  he  had  regaled  their  expectant  appreciation.  So 
they  surrendered  Tanaduke  to  the  futurists,  deciding 
that  he  and  his  flaming  ties  would  do  better  there.  Tom 
gave  him  the  final  advice  that  he  should  stop  writing 
for  two  years  and  read  the  complete  works  of  Alexander 
Pope  four  times,  but  on  Amory's  suggestion  that  Pope 
for  Tanaduke  was  like  foot-ease  for  stomach  trouble, 
they  withdrew  in  laughter,  and  called  it  a  coin's  toss 
whether  this  genius  was  too  big  or  too  petty  for  them. 

Amory  rather  scornfully  avoided  the  popular  profes- 
sors who  dispensed  easy  epigrams  and  thimblefuls  of 
Chartreuse  to  groups  of  admirers  every  night.  He  was 
disappointed,  too,  at  the  air  of  general  uncertainty  on 
every  subject  that  seemed  linked  with  the  pedantic  tem- 
perament; his  opinions  took  shape  in  a  miniature  satire 
called  "In  a  Lecture-Room,"  which  he  persuaded  Tom 
to  print  in  the  Nassau  Lit, 

"Good-morning,  Fool  .  .  . 

Three  times  a  week 
You  hold  us  helpless  while  you  speak, 
Teasing  our  thirsty  souls  with  the 
Sleek  'yeas'  of  your  philosophy  .  .  . 


n8  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Well,  here  we  are,  your  hundred  sheep, 

Tune  up,  play  on,  pour  forth  ...  we  sleep  . 

You  are  a  student,  so  they  say; 

You  hammered  out  the  other  day 

A  syllabus,  from  what  we  know 

Of  some  forgotten  folio; 

You'd  sniffled  through  an  era's  must, 

Filling  your  nostrils  up  with  dust, 

And  then,  arising  from  your  knees, 

Published,  in  one  gigantic  sneeze  .  .  . 

But  here's  a  neighbor  on  my  right, 

An  Eager  Ass,  considered  bright; 

Asker  of  questions.  .  .  .     How  he'll  stand. 

With  earnest  air  and  fidgy  hand, 

After  this  hour,  telling  you 

He  sat  all  night  and  burrowed  through 

Your  book.  .  .  .    Oh,  you'll  be  coy  and  he 

Will  simulate  precosity, 

And  pedants  both,  you'll  smile  and  smirk, 

And  leer,  and  hasten  back  to  work.  .  .  . 

Twas  this  day  week,  sir,  you  returned 
A  theme  of  mine,  from  which  I  learned 
(Through  various  comment  on  the  side 
Which  you  had  scrawled)  that  I  defied 
The  highest  rules  of  criticism 
For  cheap  and  careless  witticism.  .  .  . 

'Are  you  quite  sure  that  this  could  be?' 
And 

'Shaw  is  no  authority!' 
But  Eager  Ass,  with  what  he's  sent, 
Plays  havoc  with  your  best  per  cent. 

Still — still  I  meet  you  here  and  there  .  .  . 
When  Shakespeare's  played  you  hold  a  chair, 
And  some  defunct,  moth-eaten  star 
Enchants  the  mental  prig  you  are  .  .  . 
A  radical  comes  down  and  shocks 
The  atheistic  orthodox  ? — 
You're  representing  Common  Sense, 
Mouth  open,  in  the  audience. 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  119 

And,  sometimes,  even  chapel  lures 
That  conscious  tolerance  of  yours, 
That  broad  and  beaming  view  of  truth 
(Including  Kant  and  General  Booth  .  .  .) 
And  so  from  shock  to  shock  you  live, 
A  hollow,  pale  affirmative  .  .  . 

The  hour's  up  ...  and  roused  from  rest 
One  hundred  children  of  the  blest 
Cheat  you  a  word  or  two  with  feet 
That  down  the  noisy  aisle-ways  beat  .  .  . 
Forget  on  narrow-minded  earth 
The  Mighty  Yawn  that  gave  you  birth." 

In  April,  Kerry  Holiday  left  college  and  sailed  for 
France  to  enroll  in  the  Lafayette  Esquadrille.  Amory's 
envy  and  admiration  of  this  step  was  drowned  in  an 
experience  of  his  own  to  which  he  never  succeeded  in 
giving  an  appropriate  value,  but  which,  nevertheless, 
haunted  him  for  three  years  afterward. 


THE  DEVIL 

Healy's  they  left  at  twelve  and  taxied  to  Bistolary's. 
There  were  Axia  Marlowe  and  Phcebe  Column,  from  the 
Summer  Garden  show,  Fred  Sloane  and  Amory.  The 
evening  was  so  very  young  that  they  felt  ridiculous  with 
surplus  energy,  and  burst  into  the  cafe  like  Dionysian 
revellers. 

"Table  for  four  in  the  middle  of  the  floor,"  yelled 
Phoebe.  "Hurry,  old  dear,  tell  'em  we're  here! " 

"Tell  'em  to  play  'Admiration'!"  shouted  Sloane. 
"You  two  order;  Phcebe  and  I  are  going  to  shake  a 
wicked  calf,"  and  they  sailed  off  in  the  muddled  crowd. 
Axia  and  Amory,  acquaintances  of  an  hour,  jostled 
behind  a  waiter  to  a  table  at  a  point  of  vantage;  there 
they  took  seats  and  watched. 


120  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"There's  Findle  Margotson,  from  New  Haven!  "  she 
cried  above  the  uproar.  "'Lo,  Findle!  Whoo-ee!" 

"Oh,  Axia !"  he  shouted  in  salutation.  "C'mon  over 
to  our  table." 

"No !"  Amory  whispered. 

"Can't  do  it,  Findle;  I'm  with  somebody  else!  Call 
me  up  to-morrow  about  one  o'clock !  " 

Findle,  a  nondescript  man-about-Bisty's,  answered 
incoherently  and  turned  back  to  the  brilliant  blonde 
whom  he  was  endeavoring  to  steer  around  the  room. 

"There's  a  natural  damn  fool,"  commented  Amory. 

"Oh,  he's  all  right.  Here's  the  old  jitney  waiter.  If 
you  ask  me,  I  want  a  double  Daiquiri." 

"Make  it  four." 

The  crowd  whirled  and  changed  and  shifted.  They 
were  mostly  from  the  colleges,  with  a  scattering  of  the 
male  refuse  of  Broadway,  and  women  of  two  types,  the 
higher  of  which  was  the  chorus  girl.  On  the  whole  it 
was  a  typical  crowd,  and  their  party  as  typical  as  any. 
About  three-fourths  of  the  whole  business  was  for  effect 
and  therefore  harmless,  ended  at  the  door  of  the  cafe, 
soon  enough  for  the  five-o'clock  train  back  to  Yale  or 
Princeton;  about  one-fourth  continued  on  into  the  dim- 
mer hours  and  gathered  strange  dust  from  strange  places. 
Their  party  was  scheduled  to  be  one  of  the  harmless 
kind.  Fred  Sloane  and  Phoebe  Column  were  old  friends; 
Axia  and  Amory  new  ones.  But  strange  things  are  pre- 
pared even  in  the  dead  of  night,  and  the  unusual,  which 
lurks  least  in  the  cafe,  home  of  the  prosaic  and  inevita- 
ble, was  preparing  to  spoil  for  him  the  waning  romance 
of  Broadway.  The  way  it  took  was  so  inexpressibly 
terrible,  so  unbelievable,  that  afterward  he  never 
thought  of  it  as  experience;  but  it  was  a  scene  from  a 
misty  tragedy,  played  far  behind  the  veil,  and  that  it 
meant  something  definite  he  knew. 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  121 

About  one  o'clock  they  moved  to  Maxim's,  and  two 
found  them  in  Deviniere's.  Sloane  had  been  drinking 
consecutively  and  was  in  a  state  of  unsteady  exhilara- 
tion, but  Amory  was  quite  tiresomely  sober;  they  had 
run  across  none  of  those  ancient,  corrupt  buyers  of 
champagne  who  usually  assisted  their  New  York  parties. 

They  were  just  through  dancing  and  were  making 
their  way  back  to  their  chairs  when  Amory  became 
aware  that  some  one  at  a  near-by  table  was  looking  at 
him.  He  turned  and  glanced  casually  ...  a  middle- 
aged  man  dressed  in  a  brown  sack  suit,  it  was,  sitting  a 
little  apart  at  a  table  by  himself  and  watching  their 
party  intently.  At  Amory's  glance  he  smiled  faintly. 
Amory  turned  to  Fred,  who  was  just  sitting  down. 

"Who's  that  pale  fool  watching  us?"  he  complained 
indignantly. 

" Where?"  cried  Sloane.  "We'll  have  him  thrown 
out ! "  He  rose  to  his  feet  and  swayed  back  and  forth, 
clinging  to  his  chair.  "Where  is  he?" 

Axia  and  Phoebe  suddenly  leaned  and  whispered  to 
each  other  across  the  table,  and  before  Amory  reafized 
it  they  found  themselves  on  their  way  to  the  door. 

"Where  now?" 

"Up  to  tke  flat,"  suggested  Phoebe.  "We've  got 
brandy  and  fizz — and  everything's  slow  down  here  to- 
night." 

Amory  considered  quickly.  He  hadn't  been  drink- 
ing, and  decided  that  if  he  took  no  more,  it  would  be 
reasonably  discreet  for  him  to  trot  along  in  the  party. 
In  fact,  it  would  be,  perhaps,  the  thing  to  do  in  order  to 
keep  an  eye  on  Sloane,  who  was  not  in  a  state  to  do  his 
own  thinking.  So  he  took  Axia's  arm  and,  piling  inti- 
mately into  a  taxicab,  they  drove  out  over  the  hundreds 
and  drew  up  at  a  tall,  white-stone  apartment-house. 
.  .  .  Never  would  he  forget  that  street.  ...  It  was 


122  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

a  broad  street,  lined  on  both  sides  with  just  such  tall, 
white-stone  buildings,  dotted  with  dark  windows;  they 
stretched  along  as  far  as  the  eye  could  see,  flooded  with 
a  bright  moonlight  that  gave  them  a  calcium  pallor. 
He  imagined  each  one  to  have  an  elevator  and  a  colored 
hall-boy  and  a  key-rack;  each  one  to  be  eight  stories 
high  and  full  of  three  and  four  room  suites.  He  was 
rather  glad  to  walk  into  the  cheeriness  of  Phoebe's  liv- 
ing-room and  sink  onto  a  sofa,  while  the  girls  went  rum- 
maging for  food. 

"Phoebe's  great  stuff,"  confided  Sloane,  sotto  voce. 

"I'm  only  going  to  stay  half  an  hour,"  Amory  said 
sternly.  He  wondered  if  it  sounded  priggish. 

"Hell  y'  say,"  protested  Sloane.  "We're  here  now — 
don't  le's  rush." 

"I  don't  like  this  place,"  Amory  said  sulkily,  "and  I 
don't  want  any  food." 

Phoebe  reappeared  with  sandwiches,  brandy  bottle, 
siphon,  and  four  glasses. 

"Amory,  pour  'em  out,"  she  said,  "and  we'll  drink 
to  Fred  Sloane,  who  has  a  rare,  distinguished  edge." 

"Yes,"  said  Axia,  coming  in,  "and  Amory.  I  like 
Amory."  She  sat  down  beside  him  and  laid  her  yellow 
head  on  his  shoulder. 

"I'll  pour,"  said  Sloane;  "you  use  siphon,  Phoebe." 

They  filled  the  tray  with  glasses. 

"Ready,  here  she  goes ! " 

Amory  hesitated,  glass  in  hand. 

There  was  a  minute  while  temptation  crept  over  him 
like  a  warm  wind,  and  his  imagination  turned  to  fire, 
and  he  took  the  glass  from  Phoebe's  hand.  That  was 
all;  for  at  the  second  that  his  decision  came,  he  looked 
up  and  saw,  ten  yards  from  him,  the  man  who  had  been 
in  the  cafe,  and  with  his  jump  of  astonishment  the  glass 
fell  from  his  upMfted  hand.  There  the  man  half  sat, 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  123 

half  leaned  against  a  pile  of  pillows  on  the  corner  divan. 
His  face  was  cast  in  the  same  yellow  wax  as  in  the  cafe, 
neither  the  dull,  pasty  color  of  a  dead  man — rather  a 
sort  of  virile  pallor — nor  unhealthy,  you'd  have  called 
it;  but  like  a  strong  man  who'd  worked  in  a  mine  or 
done  night  shifts  in  a  damp  climate.  Amory  looked 
him  over  carefully  and  later  he  could  have  drawn  him 
after  a  fashion,  down  to  the  merest  details.  His  mouth 
was  the  kind  that  is  called  frank,  and  he  had  steady 
gray  eyes  that  moved  slowly  from  one  to  the  other  of 
their  group,  with  just  the  shade  of  a  questioning  ex- 
pression. Amory  noticed  his  hands;  they  weren't  fine 
at  all,  but  they  had  versatility  and  a  tenuous  strength 
.  .  .  they  were  nervous  hands  that  sat  lightly  along  the 
cushions  and  moved  constantly  with  little  jerky  open- 
ings and  closings.  Then,  suddenly,  Amory  perceived 
the  feet,  and  with  a  rush  of  blood  to  the  head  he  realized 
he  was  afraid.  The  feet  were  all  wrong  .  .  .  with  a 
sort  of  wrongness  that  he  felt  rather  than  knew.  .  .  . 
It  was  like  weakness  in  a  good  woman,  or  blood  on 
satin;  one  of  those  terrible  incongruities  that  shake  lit- 
tle things  in  the  back  ot  tne  Drain.  He  wore  no  shoes, 
but,  instead,  a  sort  of  half  moccasin,  pointed,  though, 
like  the  shoes  they  wore  in  the  fourteenth  century,  and 
with  the  little  ends  curling  up.  They  were  a  darkish 
brown  and  his  toes  seemed  to  fill  them  to  the  end.  .  .  , 
They  were  unutterably  terrible.  .  .  . 

He  must  have  said  something,  or  looked  something, 
for  Axia's  voice  came  out  of  the  void  with  a  strange 
goodness. 

"Well,  look  at  Amory!  Poor  old  Amory 's  sick — old 
head  going  'round?" 

"Look  at  that  man!"  cried  Amory,  pointing  toward 
the  corner  divan. 

"You  mean  that  purple  zebra!"  shrieked  Axia  face- 


124  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

tiously.  "Ooo-ee!  Amory's  got  a  purple  zebra  watch- 
ing him ! " 

Sloane  laughed  vacantly. 

"Ole  zebra  gotcha,  Amory?" 

There  was  a  silence.  .  .  .  The  man  regarded  Amory 
quizzically.  .  .  .  Then  the  human  voices  fell  faintly 
on  his  ear: 

"Thought  you  weren't  drinking/'  remarked  Axia  sar- 
donically, but  her  voice  was  good  to  hear;  the  whole 
divan  that  held  the  man  was  alive;  alive  like  heat  waves 
over  asphalt,  like  wriggling  worms.  .  .  . 

"  Come  back !  Come  back ! "  Axia's  arm  fell  on  his. 
"Amory,  dear,  you  aren't  going,  Amory!"  He  was 
half-way  to  the  door. 

"Come  on,  Amory,  stick  'th  us !" 

"Sick,  are  you?" 

"Sit  down  a  second!" 

"Take  some  water." 

"Take  a  little  brandy.  .  .  ." 

The  elevator  was  close,  and  the  colored  boy  was  half 
asleep,  paled  to  a  livid  bronze  .  .  .  Axia's  beseeching 
voice  floated  down  the  shaft.  Those  feet  .  .  .  those 
feet  .  .  . 

As  they  settled  to  the  lower  floor  the  feet  came  into 
view  in  the  sickly  electric  light  of  the  paved  hall. 

IN  THE  ALLEY 

Down  the  long  street  came  the  moon,  and  Amory 
turned  his  back  on  it  and  walked.  Ten,  fifteen  steps 
away  sounded  the  footsteps.  They  were  like  a  slow 
dripping,  with  just  the  slightest  insistence  in  their  fall. 
Amory's  shadow  lay,  perhaps,  ten  feet  ahead  of  him, 
and  soft  shoes  was  presumably  that  far  behind.  With 
the  instinct  of  a  child  Amory  edged  in  under  the  blue 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  125 

darkness  of  the  white  buildings,  cleaving  the  moonlight 
for  haggard  seconds,  once  bursting  into  a  slow  run  with 
clumsy  stumblings.  After  that  he  stopped  suddenly;  he 
must  keep  hold,  he  thought.  His  lips  were  dry  and  he 
licked  them. 

If  he  met  any  one  good — were  there  any  good  people 
left  in  the  world  or  did  they  all  live  in  white  apartment- 
houses  now  ?  Was  every  one  followed  in  the  moonlight  ? 
But  if  he  met  some  one  good  who'd  know  what  he  meant 
and  hear  this  damned  scuffle  .  .  .  then  the  scuffling 
grew  suddenly  nearer,  and  a  black  cloud  settled  over 
the  moon.  When  again  the  pale  sheen  skimmed  the 
cornices,  it  was  almost  beside  him,  and  Amory  thought 
he  heard  a  quiet  breathing.  Suddenly  he  realized  that 
the  footsteps  were  not  behind,  had  never  been  behind, 
they  were  ahead  and  he  was  not  eluding  but  following 
.  .  .  following.  He  began  to  run,  blindly,  his  heart 
knocking  heavily,  his  hands  clinched.  Far  ahead  a 
black  dot  showed  itself,  resolved  slowly  into  a  human 
shape.  But  Amory  was  beyond  that  now;  he  turned 
off  tke  street  and  darted  into  an  alley,  narrow  and  dark 
and  smelling  of  old  rottenness.  He  twisted  down  a 
long,  sinuous  blackness,  where  the  moonlight  was  shut 
away  except  for  tiny  glints  and  patches  .  .  .  then  sud- 
denly sank  panting  into  a  corner  by  a  fence,  exhausted. 
The  steps  ahead  stopped,  and  he  could  hear  them  shift 
slightly  with  a  continuous  motion,  like  waves  around  a 
dock. 

He  put  his  face  in  his  hands  and  covered  eyes  and 
ears  as  well  as  he  could.  During  all  this  time  it  never 
occurred  to  him  that  he  was  delirious  or  drunk.  He  had 
a  sense  of  reality  such  as  material  things  could  never 
give  him.  His  intellectual  content  seemed  to  submit 
passively  to  it,  and  it  fitted  like  a  glove  everything  that 
had  ever  preceded  it  in  his  life.  It  did  not  muddle  hinic 


i26  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

It  was  like  a  problem  whose  answer  he  knew  on  paper, 
yet  whose  solution  he  was  unable  to  grasp.  He  was  far 
beyond  horror.  He  had  sunk  through  the  thin  surface 
of  that,  now  moved  in  a  region  where  the  feet  and  the 
fear  of  white  walls  were  real,  living  things,  things  he 
must  accept.  Only  far  inside  his  soul  a  little  fire  leaped 
and  cried  that  something  was  pulling  him  down,  trying 
to  get  him  inside  a  door  and  slam  it  behind  him.  After 
that  door  was  slammed  there  would  be  only  footfalls 
and  white  buildings  in  the  moonlight,  and  perhaps  he 
would  be  one  of  the  footfalls. 

During  the  five  or  ten  minutes  he  waited  in  the  shadow 
of  the  fence,  there  was  somehow  this  fire  .  .  .  that  was 
as  near  as  he  could  name  it  afterward.  He  remembered 
calling  aloud: 

"  I  want  some  one  stupid.  Oh,  send  some  one  stupid ! " 
This  to  the  black  fence  opposite  him,  in  whose  shadows 
the  footsteps  shuffled  .  .  .  shuffled.  He  supposed  "  stu- 
pid" and  "good"  had  become  somehow  intermingled 
through  previous  association.  When  he  called  thus  it 
was  not  an  act  of  will  at  all — will  had  turned  him  away 
from  the  moving  figure  in  the  street;  it  was  almost  in- 
stinct that  called,  just  the  pile  on  pile  of  inherent  tra- 
dition or  some  wild  prayer  from  way  over  the  night. 
Then  something  clanged  like  a  low  gong  struck  at  a  dis- 
tance, and  before  his  eyes  a  face  flashed  over  the  two 
feet,  a  face  pale  and  distorted  with  a  sort  of  infinite  evil 
that  twisted  it  like  flame  in  the  wind;  but  he  knew,  for 
the  half  instant  that  tJte  gong  tanged  and  hummed,  that  it 
was  the  face  of  Dick  Humbird. 

Minutes  later  he  sprang  to  his  feet,  realizing  dimly 
that  there  was  no  more  sound,  and  that  he  was  alone  in 
the  graying  alley.  It  was  cold,  and  he  started  on  a 
steady  run  for  the  light  that  showed  the  street  at  the 
other  end. 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  127 


AT  THE  WINDOW 

It  was  late  morning  when  he  woke  and  found  the  tele- 
phone beside  his  bed  in  the  hotel  tolling  frantically,  and 
remembered  that  he  had  left  word  to  be  called  at  eleven. 
Sloane  was  snoring  heavily,  his  clothes  in  a  pile  by  his 
bed.  They  dressed  and  ate  breakfast  in  silence,  and 
then  sauntered  out  to  get  some  air.  Amory's  mind  was 
working  slowly,  trying  to  assimilate  what  had  happened 
and  separate  from  the  chaotic  imagery  that  stacked  his 
memory  the  bare  shreds  of  truth.  If  the  morning  had 
been  cold  and  gray  he  could  have  grasped  the  reins  of 
the  past  in  an  instant,  but  it  was  one  of  those  days  that 
New  York  gets  sometimes  in  May,  when  the  air  on 
Fifth  Avenue  is  a  soft,  light  wine.  How  much  or  how 
little  Sloane  remembered  Amory  did  not  care  to  know; 
he  apparently  had  none  of  the  nervous  tension  that  was 
gripping  Amory  and  forcing  his  mind  back  and  forth 
like  a  shrieking  saw. 

Then  Broadway  broke  upon  them,  and  with  the  babel 
of  noise  and  the  painted  faces  a  sudden  sickness  rushed 
over  Amory. 

"For  God's  sake,  let's  go  back !  Let's  get  off  of  this 
— this  place!" 

Sloane  looked  at  him  in  amazement. 

"What  do  you  mean?" 

"This  street,  it's  ghastly!  Come  on!  let's  get  back 
to  the  Avenue ! " 

"Do  you  mean  to  say,"  said  Sloane  stolidly,  "that 
'cause  you  had  some  sort  of  indigestion  that  made  you 
act  like  a  maniac  last  night,  you're  never  coming  on 
Broadway  again?" 

Simultaneously  Amory  classed  him  with  the  crowd, 
and  he  seemed  no  longer  Sloane  of  the  debonair  humor 


128  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 


and  the  Lappy  personality,  but  only  one  of  the  evil 
faces  that  whirled  along  the  turbid  stream. 

"Man!"  he  shouted  so  loud  that  the  people  on  the 
corner  turned  and  followed  them  with  their  eyes,  "it's 
filthy,  and  if  you  can't  see  it,  you're  filthy,  too !" 

"I  can't  help  it,"  said  Sloane  doggedly.  "What's  the 
matter  with  you?  Old  remorse  getting  you?  You'd 
be  in  a  fine  state  if  you'd  gone  through  with  our  little 
party." 

"I'm  going,  Fred,"  said  Amory  slowly.  His  knees 
were  shaking  under  him,  and  he  knew  that  if  he  stayed 
another  minute  on  this  street  he  would  keel  over  where 
he  stood.  "I'll  be  at  the  Vanderbilt  for  lunch."  And 
he  strode  rapidly  off  and  turned  over  to  Fifth  Avenue. 
Back  at  the  hotel  he  felt  better,  but  as  he  walked  into 
the  barber-shop,  intending  to  get  a  head  massage,  the 
smell  of  the  powders  and  tonics  brought  back  Axia's 
sidelong,  suggestive  smile,  and  he  left  hurriedly.  In 
the  doorway  of  his  room  a  sudden  blackness  flowed 
around  him  like  a  divided  river. 

When  he  came  to  himself  he  knew  that  several  hours 
had  passed.  He  pitched  onto  the  bed  and  rolled  over 
on  his  face  with  a  deadly  fear  that  he  was  going  mad. 
He  wanted  people,  people,  some  one  sane  and  stupid 
and  good.  He  lay  for  he  knew  not  how  long  without 
moving.  He  could  feel  the  little  hot  veins  on  his  fore- 
head standing  out,  and  his  terror  had  hardened  on  him 
like  plaster.  He  felt  he  was  passing  up  again  through 
the  thin  crust  of  horror,  and  now  only  could  he  distin- 
guish the  shadowy  twilight  he  was  leaving.  He  must 
have  fallen  asleep  again,  for  when  he  next  recollected 
himself  he  had  paid  the  hotel  bill  and  was  stepping  into 
a  taxi  at  the  door.  It  was  raining  torrents. 

On  the  train  for  Princeton  he  saw  no  one  he  knew, 
only  a  crowd  of  fagged-looking  Philadelphians.  The 


THE  EGOTIST  CONSIDERS  129 

presence  of  a  painted  woman  across  the  aisle  filled  him 
with  a  fresh  burst  of  sickness  and  he  changed  to  another 
car,  tried  to  concentrate  on  an  article  in  a  popular  mag- 
azine. He  found  himself  reading  the  same  paragraphs 
over  and  over,  so  he  abandoned  this  attempt  and  lean- 
ing over  wearily  pressed  his  hot  forehead  against  the 
damp  window-pane.  The  car,  a  smoker,  was  hot  and 
stuffy  with  most  of  the  smells  of  the  state's  alien  popu- 
lation; he  opened  a  window  and  shivered  against  the 
cloud  of  fog  that  drifted  in  over  him.  The  two  hours' 
ride  were  like  days,  and  he  nearly  cried  aloud  with  joy 
when  the  towers  of  Princeton  loomed  up  beside  him 
and  the  yellow  squares  of  light  filtered  through  the  blue 
rain. 

Tom  was  standing  in  the  centre  of  the  room,  pensively 
relighting  a  cigar-stub.  Amory  fancied  he  looked  rather 
relieved  oh  seeing  him. 

"Had  a  hell  of  a  dream  about  you  last  night,"  came 
in  the  cracked  voice  through  the  cigar  smoke.  "I  had 
an  idea  you  were  in  some  trouble." 

"Don't  tell  me  about  it!"  Amory  almost  shrieked. 
"Don't  say  a  word;  I'm  tired  and  pepped  out." 

Tom  looked  at  him  queerly  and  then  sank  into  a  chair 
and  opened  his  Italian  note-book.  Amory  threw  his 
coat  and  hat  on  the  floor,  loosened  his  collar,  and  took 
a  Wells  novel  at  random  from  the  shelf.  "Wells  is 
sane,"  he  thought,  "and  if  he  won't  do  I'll  read  Rupert 
Brooke." 

Half  an  hour  passed.  Outside  the  wind  came  up,  and 
Amory  started  as  the  wet  branches  moved  and  clawed 
with  their  finger-nails  at  the  window-pane.  Tom  was 
deep  in  his  work,  and  inside  the  room  only  the  occasional 
scratch  of  a  match  or  the  rustle  of  leather  as  they  shifted 
in  their  chairs  broke  the  stillness.  Then  like  a  zigzag 
of  lightning  came  the  change.  Amory  sat  bolt  upright, 


130  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

frozen  cold  in  his  chair.  Tom  was  looking  at  him  with 
his  mouth  drooping,  eyes  fixed. 

"  God  help  us ! "  Amory  cried. 

"Oh,  my  heavens!"  shouted  Tom,  "look  behind!" 
Quick  as  a  flash  Amory  whirled  around.  He  saw  noth- 
ing but  the  dark  window-pane. 

"It's  gone  now,"  came  Tom's  voice  after  a  second  in 
a  still  terror.  "Something  was  looking  at  you." 

Trembling  violently,  Amory  dropped  into  his  chair 
again. 

"I've  got  to  tell  you,"  he  said.  "I've  had  one  hell  of 
an  experience.  I  think  IVe — I've  seen  the  devil  or — 
something  like  him.  What  face  did  you  just  see? — or 
no,"  he  added  quickly,  "don't  tell  me!" 

And  he  gave  Tom  the  story.  It  was  midnight  when 
he  finished,  and  after  that,  with  all  lights  burning,  two 
sleepy,  shivering  boys  rea'd  to  each  other  from  "The 
New  Machiavelli,"  until  dawn  came  up  out  of  Wither- 
spoon  Hall,  and  the  Princetonian  fell  against  the  door, 
and  the  May  birds  hailed  the  sun  on  last  night's  rain. 


CHAPTER  IV 
NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY 

DURING  Princeton's  transition  period,  that  is,  during 
Amory's  last  two  years  there,  while  he  saw  it  change 
and  broaden  and  live  up  to  its  Gothic  beauty  by  better 
means  than  night  parades,  certain  individuals  arrived 
who  stirred  it  to  its  plethoric  depths.  Some  of  them 
had  been  freshmen,  and  wild  freshmen,  with  Amory; 
some  were  in  the  class  below;  and  it  was  in  the  beginning 
of  his  last  year  and  around  small  tables  at  the  Nassau 
Inn  that  they  began  questioning  aloud  the  institutions 
that  Amory  and  countless  others  before  him  had  ques- 
tioned so  long  in  secret.  First,  and  partly  by  accident, 
they  struck  on  certain  books,  a  definite  type  of  biograph- 
ical novel  that  Amory  christened  "quest"  books.  In 
the  "quest"  book  the  hero  set  off  in  life  armed  with  the 
best  weapons  and  avowedly  intending  to  use  them  as 
such  weapons  are  usually  used,  to  push  their  possessors 
ahead  as  selfishly  and  blindly  as  possible,  but  the  heroes 
of  the  "quest"  books  discovered  that  there  might  be  a 
more  magnificent  use  for  them.  "None  Other  Gods," 
"Sinister  Street,"  and  "The  Research  Magnificent" 
were  examples  of  such  books;  it  was  the  latter  of  these 
three  that  gripped  Burne  Holiday  and  made  him  won- 
der in  the  beginning  of  senior  year  how  much  it  was 
worth  while  being  a  diplomatic  autocrat  around  his 
club  on  Prospect  Avenue  and  basking  in  the  high  lights 
of  class  office.  It  was  distinctly  through  the  channels 
of  aristocracy  that  Burne  found  his  way.  Amory, 
through  Kerry,  had  had  a  vague  drifting  acquaintance 

131 


132  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

with  him,  but  not  until  January  of  senior  year  did  their 
friendship  commence. 

"Heard  the  latest?"  said  Tom,  coming  in  late  one 
drizzly  evening  with  that  triumphant  air  he  always  wore 
after  a  successful  conversational  bout. 

"No.  Somebody  flunked  out?  Or  another  ship 
sunk?" 

"Worse  than  that.  About  one- third  of  the  junior 
class  are  going  to  resign  from  their  clubs." 

"What!" 

"Actual  fact!" 

"Why!" 

"Spirit  of  reform  and  all  that.  Burne  Holiday  is  be- 
hind it.  The  club  presidents  are  holding  a  meeting  to- 
night to  see  if  they  can  find  a  joint  means  of  combat- 
ing it." 

"Well,  what's  the  idea  of  the  thing?" 

"Oh,  clubs  injurious  to  Princeton  democracy;  cost  a 
lot;  draw  social  lines,  take  time;  the  regular  line  you 
get  sometimes  from  disappointed  sophomores.  Wood- 
row  thought  they  should  be  abolished  and  all  that." 

"But  this  is  the  real  thing?" 

"Absolutely.    I  think  it'll  go  through." 

"For  Pete's  sake,  tell  me  more  about  it." 

"Well,"  began  Tom,  "it  seems  that  the  idea  developed 
simultaneously  in  several  heads.  I  was  talking  to 
Burne  awhile  ago,  and  he  claims  that  it's  a  logical  result 
if  an  intelligent  person  thinks  long  enough  about  the 
social  system.  They  had  a  'discussion  crowd'  and  the 
point  of  abolishing  the  clubs  was  brought  up  by  some 
one — everybody  there  leaped  at  it — it  had  been  in  each 
one's  mind,  more  or  less,  and  it  just  needed  a  spark  to 
bring  it  out." 

"Fine!  I  swear  I  think  it'll  be  most  entertaining. 
How  do  they  feel  up  at  Cap  and  Gown?" 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  133 

"Wild,  of  course.  Every  one's  been  sitting  and  argu- 
ing and  swearing  and  getting  mad  and  getting  senti- 
mental and  getting  brutal.  It's  the  same  at  all  the 
clubs;  I've  been  the  rounds. .  They  get  one  of  the  radi- 
cals in  the  corner  and  fire  questions  at  him." 

"How  do  the  radicals  stand  up?" 

"Oh,  moderately  well.  Burne's  a  damn  good  talker, 
and  so  obviously  sincere  that  you  can't  get  anywhere 
with  him.  It's  so  evident  that  resigning  from  his  club 
means  so  much  more  to  him  than  preventing  it  does  to 
us  that  I  felt  futile  when  I  argued;  finally  took  a  posi- 
tion that  was  brilliantly  neutral.  In  fact,  I  believe 
Burne  thought  for  a  while  that  he'd  converted  me." 

"And  you  say  almost  a  third  of  the  junior  class  are 
going  to  resign  ?  " 

"Call  it  a  fourth  and  be  safe." 

"Lord — who'd  have  thought  it  possible!" 

There  was  a  brisk  knock  at  the  door,  and  Burne  him- 
self came  in. 

"Hello,  Amory— hello,  Tom." 

Amory  rose. 

"'Evening,  Burne.  Don't  mind  if  I  seem  to  rush; 
I'm  going  to  Renwick's." 

Burne  turned  to  him  quickly. 

"You  probably  know  what  I  want  to  talk  to  Tom 
about,  and  it  isn't  a  bit  private.  I  wish  you'd  stay." 

"I'd  be  glad  to."  Amory  sat  down  again,  and  as 
Burne  perched  on  a  table  and  launched  into  argument 
with  Tom,  he  looked  at  this  revolutionary  more  carefully 
than  he  ever  had  before.  Broad-browed  and  strong- 
chinned,  with  a  fineness  in  the  honest  gray  eyes  that 
were  like  Kerry's,  Burne  was  a  man  who  gave  an  imme- 
diate impression  of  bigness  and  security — stubborn,  that 
was  evident,  but  his  stubbornness  wore  no  stolidity, 
and  when  he  had  talked  for  five  minutes  Amory  knew 


134  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

that  this  keen  enthusiasm  had  in  it  no  quality  of  dilet- 
tantism. 

The  intense  power  Amory  felt  later  in  Burne  Holiday 
differed  from  the  admiration  he  had  had  for  Humbird. 
This  time  it  began  as  purely  a  mental  interest.  With 
other  men  of  whom  he  had  thought  as  primarily  first- 
class,  he  had  been  attracted  first  by  their  personalities, 
and  in  Burne  he  missed  that  immediate  magnetism  to 
which  he  usually  swore  allegiance.  But  that  night 
Amory  was  struck  by  Burne's  intense  earnestness,  a 
quality  he  was  accustomed  to  associate  only  with  the 
dread  stupidity,  and  by  the  great  enthusiasm  that 
struck  dead  chords  in  his  heart.  Burne  stood  vaguely 
for  a  land  Amory  hoped  he  was  drifting  toward — and  it 
was  almost  time  that  land  was  in  sight.  Tom  and  Amory 
and  Alec  had  reached  an  impasse;  never  did  they  seem 
to  have  new  experiences  in  common,  for  Tom  and  Alec 
had  been  as  blindly  busy  with  their  committees  and 
boards  as  Amory  had  been  blindly  idling,  and  the  things 
they  had  for  dissection — college,  contemporary  person- 
ality and  the  like — they  had  hashed  and  rehashed  for 
many  a  frugal  conversational  meal. 

That  night  they  discussed  the  dubs  until  twelve,  and, 
in  the  main,  they  agreed  with  Burne.  To  the  room- 
mates it  did  not  seem  such  a  vital  subject  as  it  had  in 
the  two  years  before,  but  the  logic  of  Burne's  objections 
to  the  social  system  dovetailed  so  completely  with 
everything  they  had  thought,  that  they  questioned 
rather  than  argued,  and  envied  the  sanity  that  enabled 
this  man  to  stand  out  so  against  all  traditions. 

Then  Amory  branched  off  and  found  that  Burne  was 
deep  in  other  things  as  well.  Economics  had  interested 
him  and  he  was  turning  socialist.  Pacifism  played  in 
the  back  of  his  mind,  and  he  read  the  Masses  and  Lyoff 
Tolstoi  faithfully. 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  135 

"How  about  religion?"  Amory  asked  him. 

"Don't  know.  I'm  in  a  muddle  about  a  lot  of  things 
— I've  just  discovered  that  I've  a  mind,  and  I'm  start- , 
ing  to  read." 

"Read  what?" 

"Everything.  I  have  to  pick  and  choose,  of  course, 
but  mostly  things  to  make  me  think.  I'm  reading  the 
four  gospels  now,  and  the  'Varieties  of  Religious  Experi- 
ence.'" 

"What  chiefly  started  you?" 

"Wells,  I  guess,  and  Tolstoi,  and  a  man  named 
Edward  Carpenter.  I've  been  reading  for  over  &  year 
now — on  a  few  lines,  on  what  I  consider  the  essential 
lines." 

"Poetry?" 

"Well,  frankly,  not  what  you  call  poetry,  or  for  your 
reasons — you  two  write,  of  course,  and  look  at  things 
differently.  Whitman  is  the  man  that  attracts  me." 

"Whitman?" 

"Yes;  he's  a  definite  ethical  force." 

"Well,  I'm  ashamed  to  say  that  I'm  a  blank  on  the 
subject  of  Whitman.  How  about  you,  Tom?" 

Tom  nodded  sheepishly. 

"Well,"  continued  Burne,  "you  may  strike  a  few 
poems  that  are  tiresome,  but  I  mean  the  mass  of  his 
work.  He's  tremendous — like  Tolstoi.  They  both  look 
things  in  the  face,  and,  somehow,  different  as  they  are, 
stand  for  somewhat  the  same  things." 

"You  have  me  stumped,  Burne,"  Amory  admitted. 
"I've  read  'Anna  Kar6nina'  and  the  'Kreutzer  Sonata* 
of  course,  but  Tolstoi  is  mostly  in  the  original  Russian 
as  far  as  I'm  concerned." 

"He's  the  greatest  man  in  hundreds  of  years,"  cried 
Burne  enthusiastically.  "Did  you  ever  see  a  picture  of 
that  shaggy  old  head  of  his?" 


136  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

They  talked  until  three,  from  biology  to  organized 
religion,  and  when  Amory  crept  shivering  into  bed  it 
was  with  his  mind  aglow  with  ideas  and  a  sense  of  shock 
that  some  one  else  had  discovered  the  path  he  might 
have  followed.  Burne  Holiday  was  so  evidently  devel- 
oping— and  Amory  had  considered  that  he  was  doing 
the  same.  He  had  fallen  into  a  deep  cynicism  over 
what  had  crossed  his  path,  plotted  the  imperfectability 
of  man  and  read  Shaw  and  Chesterton  enough  to  keep 
his  mind  from  the  edges  of  decadence — now  suddenly 
all  his  mental  processes  of  the  last  year  and  a  half  seemed 
stale  and  futile — a  petty  consummation  of  himself  .  .  . 
and  like  a  sombre  background  lay  that  incident  of  the 
spring  before,  that  filled  half  his  nights  with  a  dreary 
terror  and  made  him  unable  to  pray.  He  was  not  even 
a  Catholic,  yet  that  was  the  only  ghost  of  a  code  that 
he  had,  the  gaudy,  ritualistic,  paradoxical  Catholicism 
whose  prophet  was  Chesterton,  whose  claqueurs  were 
such  reformed  rakes  of  literature  as  Huysmans  and 
Bourget,  whose  American  sponsor  was  Ralph  Adams 
Cram,  with  his  adulation  of  thirteenth-century  cathe- 
drals— a  Catholicism  which  Amory  found  convenient 
and  ready-made,  without  priest  or  sacraments  or  sac- 
rifice. 

He  could  not  sleep,  so  he  turned  on  his  reading-lamp 
and,  taking  down  the  "Kreutzer  Sonata,"  searched  it 
carefully  for  the  germs  of  Burne's  enthusiasm.  Being 
Burne  was  suddenly  so  much  realler  than  being  clever. 
Yet  he  sighed  .  .  .  here  were  other  possible  clay  feet. 

He  thought  back  through  two  years,  of  Burne  as  a 
hurried,  nervous  freshman,  quite  submerged  in  his 
brother's  personality.  Then  he  remembered  an  incident 
of  sophomore  year,  in  which  Burne  had  been  suspected 
of  the  leading  role. 

Dean  Hollister  had  been  heard  by  a  large  group  argu- 
ing with  a  taxi-driver,  who  had  driven  him  from  the 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  137 

junction.  In  the  course  of  the  altercation  the  dean 
remarked  that  he  "might  as  well  buy  the  taxicab."  He 
paid  and  walked  off,  but  next  morning  he  entered  his 
private  office  to  find  the  taxicab  itself  in  the  space  usu- 
ally occupied  by  his  desk,  bearing  a  sign  which  read 
"Property  of  Dean  Hollister.  Bought  and  Paid  for." 
...  It  took  two  expert  mechanics  half  a  day  to  dis- 
semble it  into  its  minutest  parts  and  remove  it,  which 
only  goes  to  prove  the  rare  energy  of  sophomore  humor 
under  efficient  leadership. 

Then  again,  that  very  fall,  Burne  had  caused  a  sensa- 
tion. A  certain  Phyllis  Styles,  an  intercollegiate  prom- 
trotter,  had  failed  to  get  her  yearly  invitation  to  the 
Harvard-Princeton  game. 

Jesse  Ferrenby  had  brought  her  to  a  smaller  game  a 
few  weeks  before,  and  had  pressed  Burne  into  service — 
to  the  ruination  of  the  latter's  misogyny. 

"Are  you  coming  to  the  Harvard  game?"  Burne  had 
asked  indiscreetly,  merely  to  make  conversation. 

"If  you  ask  me,"  cried  Phyllis  quickly. 

"Of  course  I  do,"  said  Burne  feebly.  He  was  un- 
versed in  the  arts  of  Phyllis,  and  was  sure  that  this  was 
merely  a  vapid  form  of  kidding.  Before  an  hour  had 
passed  he  knew  that  he  was  indeed  involved.  Phyllis 
had  pinned  him  down  and  served  him  up,  informed  him 
the  train  she  was  arriving  by,  and  depressed  him  thor- 
oughly. Aside  from  loathing  Phyllis,  he  had  particu- 
larly wanted  to  stag  that  game  and  entertain  some  Har- 
vard friends. 

"She'll  see,"  he  informed  a  delegation  who  arrived  in 
his  room  to  josh  him.  "This  will  be  the  last  game  she 
ever  persuades  any  young  innocent  to  take  her  to ! " 

"  But,  Burne — why  did  you  invite  her  if  you  didn't 
want  her?" 

"Burne,  you  know  you're  secretly  mad  about  her — 
that's  the  real  trouble." 


138  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"What  can  you  do,  Burne?  What  can  you  do  against 
Phyllis?" 

But  Burne  only  shook  his  head  and  muttered  threats 
which  consisted  largely  of  the  phrase:  "She'll  see,  she'll 
seel" 

The  blithesome  Phyllis  bore  her  twenty-five  summers 
gayly  from  the  train,  but  on  the  platform  a  ghastly  sight 
met  her  eyes.  There  were  Burne  and  Fred  Sloane 
arrayed  to  the  last  dot  like  the  lurid  figures  on  college 
posters.  They  had  bought  flaring  suits  with  huge  peg- 
top  trousers  and  gigantic  padded  shoulders.  On  their 
heads  were  rakish  college  hats,  pinned  up  in  front  and 
sporting  bright  orange-and-black  bands,  while  from 
their  celluloid  collars  blossomed  flaming  orange  ties. 
They  wore  black  arm-bands  with  orange  "P's,"  and 
carried  canes  flying  Princeton  pennants,  the  effect  com- 
pleted by  socks  and  peeping  handkerchiefs  in  the  same 
color  motifs.  On  a  clanking  chain  they  led  a  large, 
angry  tom-cat,  painted  to  represent  a  tiger. 

A  good  hah7  of  the  station  crowd  was  already  staring 
at  them,  torn  between  horrified  pity  and  riotous  mirth, 
and  as  Phyllis,  with  her  svelte  jaw  dropping,  approached, 
the  pair  bent  over  and  emitted  a  college  cheer  in 
loud,  far-carrying  voices,  thoughtfully  adding  the  name 
"Phyllis"  to  the  end.  She  was  vociferously  greeted  and 
escorted  enthusiastically  across  the  campus,  followed  by 
half  a  hundred  village  urchins — to  the  stifled  laughter 
of  hundreds  of  alumni  and  visitors,  half  of  whom  had 
no  idea  that  this  was  a  practical  joke,  but  thought  that 
Burne  and  Fred  were  two  varsity  sports  showing  their 
girl  a  collegiate  time. 

Phyllis's  feelings  as  she  was  paraded  by  the  Harvard 
and  Princeton  stands,  where  sat  dozens  of  her  former 
devotees,  can  be  imagined.  She  tried  to  walk  a  little 
ahead,  she  tried  to  walk  a  little  behind — but  they 
stayed  close,  that  there  should  be  no  doubt  whom  she 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  139 

was  with,  talking  in  loud  voices  of  their  friends  on  the 
football  team,  until  she  could  almost  hear  her  ac- 
quaintances whispering: 

"Phyllis  Styles  must  be  awfully  hard  up  to  have  to 
come  with  those  two." 

That  had  been  Burne,  dynamically  humorous,  funda- 
mentally serious.  From  that  root  had  blossomed  the 
energy  that  he  was  now  trying  to  orient  with  prog- 
ress. .  .  . 

So  the  weeks  passed  and  March  came  and  the  clay 
feet  that  Amory  looked  for  failed  to  appear.  About  a 
hundred  juniors  and  seniors  resigned  from  their  clubs 
in  a  final  fury  of  righteousness,  and  the  clubs  in  helpless- 
ness turned  upon  Burne  their  finest  weapon:  ridicule. 
Every  one  who  knew  him  liked  him — but  what  he  stood 
for  (and  he  began  to  stand  for  more  all  the  time)  came 
under  the  lash  of  many  tongues,  until  a  frailer  man  than 
he  would  have  been  snowed  under. 

"Don't  you  mind  losing  prestige?"  asked  Amory  one 
night.  They  had  taken  to  exchanging  calls  several 
time  a  week. 

"Of  course  I  don't.    What's  prestige,  at  best?" 

"Some  people  say  that  you're  just  a  rather  original 
politician." 

He  roared  with  laughter. 

"That's  what  Fred  Sloane  told  me  to-day.  I  suppose 
I  have  it  coming." 

One  afternoon  they  dipped  into  a  subject  that  had 
interested  Amory  for  a  long  time — the  matter  of  the 
bearing  of  physical  attributes  on  a  man's  make-up. 
Burne  had  gone  into  the  biology  of  this,  and  then: 

"Of  course  health  counts — a  healthy  man  has  twice 
the  chance  of  being  good,"  he  said. 

"I  don't  agree  with  you — I  don't  believe  in  'muscular 
Christianity/  " 

"I  do — I  believe  Christ  had  great  physical  vigor." 


140  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Oh,  no,"  Amory  protested.  "He  worked  too  hard 
for  that.  I  imagine  that  when  he  died  he  was  a  broken- 
down  man — and  the  great  saints  haven't  been  strong." 

"Half  of  them  have." 

"Well,  even  granting  that,  I  don't  think  health  has 
anything  to  do  with  goodness;  of  course,  it's  valuable  to  a 
great  saint  to  be  able  to  stand  enormous  strains,  but 
this  fad  of  popular  preachers  rising  on  their  toes  in 
simulated  virility,  bellowing  that  calisthenics  will  save 
the  world — no,  Burne,  I  can't  go  that." 

"Well,  let's  waive  it — we  won't  get  anywhere,  and  be- 
sides I  haven't  quite  made  up  my  mind  about  it  myself. 
Now,  here's  something  I  do  know — personal  appearance 
has  a  lot  to  do  with  it." 

"Coloring?"  Amory  asked  eagerly. 

"Yes." 

"That's  what  Tom  and  I  figured,"  Amory  agreed. 
"We  took  the  year-books  for  the  last  ten  years  and 
looked  at  the  pictures  of  the  senior  council.  I  know  you 
don't  think  much  of  that  august  body,  but  it  does  repre- 
sent success  here  in  a  general  way.  Well,  I  suppose 
only  about  thirty-five  per  cent  of  every  class  here  are 
blonds,  are  really  light — yet  two-thirds  of  every  senior 
council  are  light.  We  looked  at  pictures  of  ten  years  of 
them,  mind  you;  that  means  that  out  of  every  fifteen 
light-haired  men  in  the  senior  class  one  is  on  the  senior 
council,  and  of  the  dark-haired  men  it's  only  one  in  fifty ." 

"It's  true,"  Burne  agreed.  "The  light-haired  man  is 
a  higher  type,  generally  speaking.  I  worked  the  thing 
out  with  the  Presidents  of  the  United  States  once,  and 
found  that  way  over  half  of  them  were  light-haired — 
yet  tHnk  of  the  preponderant  number  of  brunettes  in 
the  race." 

"People  unconsciously  admit  it,"  said  Amory. 
"You'll  notice  a  blond  person  is  expected  to  talk.  If  a 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  141 

blond  girl  doesn't  talk  we  call  her  a  'doll';  if  a  light- 
haired  man  is  silent  he's  considered  stupid.  Yet  the 
world  is  full  of  'dark  silent  men'  and  'languorous  bru- 
nettes '  who  haven't  a  brain  in  their  heads,  but  somehow 
are  never  accused  of  the  dearth." 

"And  the  large  mouth  and  broad  chin  and  rather  big 
nose  undoubtedly  make  the  superior  face." 

"I'm  not  so  sure."  Amory  was  all  for  classical  fea- 
tures. 

"Oh,  yes — I'll  show  you,"  and  Burne  pulled  out  of 
his  desk  a  photographic  collection  of  heavily  bearded, 
shaggy  celebrities — Tolstoi,  Whitman,  Carpenter,  and 
others. 

" Aren't  they  wonderful?" 

Amory  tried  politely  to  appreciate  them,  and  gave  up 
laughingly. 

"Burne,  I  think  they're  the  ugliest-looking  crowd  I 
ever  came  across.  They  look  like  an  old  man's  home." 

"Oh,  Amory,  look  at  that  forehead  on  Emerson;  look 
at  Tolstoi's  eyes."  His  tone  was  reproachful. 

Amory  shook  his  head. 

"  No !  Call  them  remarkable-looking  or  anything  you 
want — but  ugly  they  certainly  are." 

Unabashed,  Burne  ran  his  hand  lovingly  across  the 
spacious  foreheads,  and  piling  up  the  pictures  put  them 
back  in  his  desk. 

Walking  at  night  was  one  of  his  favorite  pursuits,  and 
one  night  he  persuaded  Amory  to  accompany  him. 

"I  hate  the  dark,"  Amory  objected.  "I  didn't  use 
to — except  when  I  was  particularly  imaginative,  but 
now,  I  really  do — I'm  a  regular  fool  about  it" 

"That's  useless,  you  know." 

"Quite  possibly." 

"We'll  go  east,"  Burne  suggested,  "and  down  that 
string  of  roads  through  the  woods." 


142  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Doesn't  sound  very  appealing  to  me,"  admitted 
Amory  reluctantly,  "but  let's  go." 

They  set  off  at  a  good  gait,  and  for  an  hour  swung 
along  in  a  brisk  argument  until  the  lights  of  Princeton 
were  luminous  white  blots  behind  them. 

"Any  person  with  any  imagination  is  bound  to  be 
afraid,"  said  Burne  earnestly.  "And  this  very  walking 
at  night  is  one  of  the  things  I  was  afraid  about.  I'm 
going  to  tell  you  why  I  can  walk  anywhere  now  and 
not  be  afraid." 

"Go  on,"  Amory  urged  eagerly.  They  were  striding 
toward  the  woods,  Burne's  nervous,  enthusiastic  voice 
warming  to  his  subject. 

"I  used  to  come  out  here  alone  at  night,  oh,  three 
months  ago,  and  I  always  stopped  at  that  cross-road  we 
just  passed.  There  were  the  woods  looming  up  ahead, 
just  as  they  do  now,  there  were  dogs  howling  and 
the  shadows  and  no  human  sound.  Of  course,  I  peopled 
the  woods  with  everything  ghastly,  just  like  you  do; 
don't  you?" 

"I  do,"  Amory  admitted. 

"Well,  I  began  analyzing  it — my  imagination  per- 
sisted in  sticking  horrors  into  the  dark — so  I  stuck  my 
imagination  into  the  dark  instead,  and  let  it  look  out 
at  me — I  let  it  play  stray  dog  or  escaped  convict  or 
ghost,  and  then  saw  myself  coming  along  the  road. 
That  made  it  all  right — as  it  always  makes  everything 
all  right  to  project  yourself  completely  into  another's 
place.  I  knew  that  if  I  were  the  dog  or  the  convict  or 
the  ghost  I  wouldn't  be  a  menace  to  Burne  Holiday  any 
more  than  he  was  a  menace  to  me.  Then  I  thought  of 
my  watch.  I'd  better  go  back  and  leave  it  and  then 
essay  the  woods.  No;  I  decided,  it's  better  on  the  whole 
that  I  should  lose  a  watch  than  that  I  should  turn  back 
— and  I  did  go  into  them — not  only  followed  the  road 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  143 

through  them,  but  walked  into  them  until  I  wasn't 
frightened  any  more — did  it  until  one  night  I  sat  down 
and  dozed  off  in  there;  then  I  knew  I  was  through  being 
afraid  of  the  dark." 

"Lordy,"  Amory  breathed.  "I  couldn't  have  done 
that.  I'd  have  come  out  half-way,  and  the  first  time  an 
automobile  passed  and  made  the  dark  thicker  when  its 
lamps  disappeared,  I'd  have  come  in." 

"Well,"  Burne  said  suddenly,  after  a  few  moments' 
silence,  "we're  half-way  through,  let's  turn  back." 

On  the  return  he  launched  into  a  discussion  of  will. 

"It's  the  whole  thing,"  he  asserted.  "It's  the  one 
dividing  line  between  good  and  evil.  I've  never  met  a 
man  who  led  a  rotten  life  and  didn't  have  a  weak  will." 

"How  about  great  criminals?" 

"They're  usually  insane.  If  not,  they're  weak. 
There  is  no  such  thihg  as  a  strong,  sane  criminal." 

"Burne,  I  disagree  with  you  altogether;  how  about 
the  superman?" 

"Well?" 

"He's  evil,  I  think,  yet  he's  strong  and  sane." 

"I've  never  met  him.  I'll  bet,  though,  that  he's  stupid 
or  insane." 

"I've  met  him  over  and  over  and  he's  neither.  That's 
why  I  think  you're  wrong." 

"I'm  sure  I'm  not — and  so  I  don't  believe  in  impris- 
onment except  for  the  insane." 

On  this  point  Amory  could  not  agree.  It  seemed  to 
him  that  lif e  and  history  were  rife  with  the  strong  crim- 
inal, keen,  but  often  self-deluding;  in  politics  and  busi- 
ness one  found  him  and  among  the  old  statesmen  and 
kings  and  generals;  but  Burne  never  agreed  and  their 
courses  began  to  split  on  that  point. 

Burne  was  drawing  farther  and  farther  away  from  the 
world  about  him.  He  resigned  the  vice-presidency  of  the 


144  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

senior  class  and  took  to  reading  and  walking  as  almost 
his  only  pursuits.  He  voluntarily  attended  graduate 
lectures  in  philosophy  and  biology,  and  sat  in  all  of  them 
with  a  rather  pathetically  intent  look  in  his  eyes,  as  if 
waiting  for  something  the  lecturer  would  never  quite 
come  to.  Sometimes  Amory  would  see  him  squirm  in 
his  seat;  and  his  face  would  light  up;  he  was  on  fire  to 
debate  a  point. 

He  grew  more  abstracted  on  the  street  and  was  even 
accused  of  becoming  a  snob,  but  Amory  knew  it  was 
nothing  of  the  sort,  and  once  when  Burne  passed  him 
four  feet  off,  absolutely  unseeingly,  his  mind  a  thousand 
miles  away,  Amory  almost  choked  with  the  romantic 
joy  of  watching  him.  Burne  seemed  to  be  climbing 
heights  where  others  would  be  forever  unable  to  get  a 
foothold. 

"I  tell  you,"  Amory  declared  to  Tom,  "he's  the  first 
contemporary  I've  ever  met  whom  I'll  admit  is  my 
superior  in  mental  capacity." 

"It's  a  bad  time  to  achnit  it— people  are  beginning 
to  think  he's  odd." 

"He's  way  over  their  heads — you  know  you  think  so 
yourself  when  you  talk  to  him —  Good  Lord,  Tom,  you 
used  to  stand  out  against  'people.'  Success  has  com- 
pletely conventionalized  you." 

Tom  grew  rather  annoyed. 

"What's  he  trying  to  do — be  excessively  holy?" 

"No!  not  like  anybody  you've  ever  seen.  Never 
enters  the  Philadelphian  Society.  He  has  no  faith  in 
that  rot  He  doesn't  believe  that  public  swimming- 
pools  and  a  kind  word  in  time  will  right  the  wrongs  of 
the  world;  moreover,  he  takes  a  drink  whenever  he  feels 
like  it" 

"He  certainly  is  getting  in  wrong." 

"Have  you  talked  to  him  lately?" 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  145 

"No." 

"Then  you  haven't  any  conception  of  him." 

The  argument  ended  nowhere,  but  Amory  noticed 
more  than  ever  how  the  sentiment  toward  Burne  had 
changed  on  the  campus. 

"It's  odd,"  Amory  said  to  Tom  one  night  when  they 
had  grown  more  amicable  on  the  subject,  "that  the 
people  who  violently  disapprove  of  Burne's  radicalism 
are  distinctly  the  Pharisee  class — I  mean  they're  the 
best-educated  men  in  college — the  editors  of  the  papers, 
like  yourself  and  Ferrenby,  the  younger  professors.  .  .  . 
The  illiterate  athletes  like  Langueduc  think  he's  getting 
eccentric,  but  they  just  say,  'Good  old  Burne  has  got 
some  queer  ideas  in  his  head/  and  pass  on — the  Pharisee 
class — Gee !  they  ridicule  him  unmercifully." 

The  next  morning  he  met  Burne  hurrying  along 
McCosh  walk  after  a  recitation. 

"Whither  bound,  Tsar?" 

"Over  to  the  Prince  office  to  see  Ferrenby,"  he  waved 
a  copy  of  the  morning's  Princetonian  at  Amory.  "He 
wrote  this  editorial." 

"Going  to  flay  him  alive?" 

"No — but  he's  got  me  all  balled  up.  Either  I've 
misjudged  him,  or  he's  suddenly  become  the  world's 
worst  radical." 

Burne  hurried  on,  and  it  was  several  days  before 
Amory  heard  an  account  of  the  ensuing  conversation. 
Burne  had  come  into  the  editor's  sanctum  displaying 
the  paper  cheerfully. 

"Hello,  Jesse." 

"Hello  there,  Savonarola." 

"I  just  read  your  editorial." 

"Good  boy— didn't  know  you  stooped  that  low." 

"Jesse,  you  startled  me." 

"How  so?" 


146  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Aren't  you  afraid  the  faculty'll  get  after  you  if  you 
pull  this  irreligious  stuff?" 

"What?" 

"Like  this  morning." 

"What  the  devil — that  editorial  was  on  the  coaching 
system." 

"Yes,  but  that  quotation " 

Jesse  sat  up. 

"What  quotation?" 

"You  know:  'He  who  is  not  with  me  is  against  me.'  " 

"Well— what  about  it?" 

Jesse  was  puzzled  but  not  alarmed. 

"Well,  you  say  here — let  me  see."  Burne  opened  the 
paper  and  read:  "  'He  who  is  not  with  me  is  against  me, 
as  that  gentleman  said  who  was  notoriously  capable  of 
only  coarse  distinctions  and  puerile  generalities.'  " 

"What  of  it?"  Ferrenby  began  to  look  alarmed. 
" Oliver  Cromwell  said  it,  didin't  he?  or  was  it  Washing- 
ton, or  one  of  the  saints?  Good  Lord,  I've  forgotten." 

Burne  roared  with  laughter. 

"Oh,  Jesse,  oh,  good,  kind  Jesse." 

"Who  said  it,  for  Pete's  sake?" 

"Well,"  said  Burne,  recovering  his  voice,  "St.  Mat- 
thew attributes  it  to  Christ." 

"My  God !"  cried  Jesse,  and  collapsed  backward  into 
the  waste-basket. 

AMORY  WRITES  A  POEM 

The  weeks  tore  by.  Amory  wandered  occasionally  to 
New  York  on  the  chance  of  finding  a  new  shining  green 
auto-bus,  that  its  stick-of-candy  glamour  might  pene- 
trate his  disposition.  One  day  he  ventured  into  a  stock- 
company  revival  of  a  play  whose  name  was  faintly 
familiar.  The  curtain  rose — he  watched  casually  as  a 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  147 

girl  entered.  A  few  phrases  rang  in  his  ear  and  touched 
a  faint  chord  of  memory.  Where — ?  When — ? 

Then  he  seemed  to  hear  a  voice  whispering  beside 
him,  a  very  soft,  vibrant  voice:  "Oh,  I'm  such  a  poor 
little  fool;  do  tell  me  when  I  do  wrong." 

The  solution  came  in  a  flash  and  he  had  a  quick,  glad 
memory  of  Isabelle. 

He  found  a  blank  space  on  his  programme,  and  began 
to  scribble  rapidly: 

"Here  in  the  figured  dark  I  watch  once  more, 
There,  with  the  curtain,  roll  the  years  away; 
Two  years  of  years — there  was  an  idle  day 

Of  ours,  when  happy  endings  didn't  bore 

Our  unfermented  souls;  I  could  adore 

Your  eager  face  beside  me,  wide-eyed,  gay, 
Smiling  a  repertoire  while  the  poor  play 

Reached  me  as  a  faint  ripple  reaches  shore. 

Yawning  and  wondering  an  evening  through, 
I  watch  alone  .  .  .  and  chatterings,  of  course, 
Spoil  the  one  scene  which,  somehow,  did  have  charms; 

You  wept  a  bit,  and  I  grew  sad  for  you 
Right  here !     Where  Mr.  X  defends  divorce 
And  What's-Her-Name  falls  fainting  in  his  arms." 

STILL  CALM 

"Ghosts  are  such  dumb  things,"  said  Alec,  "they're 
slow-witted.  I  can  always  outguess  a  'ghost." 

"How?"  asked  Tom. 

"Well,  it  depends  where.  Take  a  bedroom,  for  ex- 
ample. If  you  use  any  discretion  a  ghost  can  never  get 
you  in  a  bedroom." 

"Go  on,  s'pose  you  think  there's  maybe  a  ghost  in 
your  bedroom — what  measures  do  you  take  on  getting 
home  at  night?"  demanded  Amory,  interested. 

"Take  a  stick,"  answered  Alec,  with  ponderous  rever- 


148  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ence,  "one  about  the  length  of  a  broom-handle.  Now, 
the  first  thing  to  do  is  to  get  the  room  cleared — to  do 
this  you  rush  with  your  eyes  closed  into  your  study  and 
turn  on  the  lights — next,  approaching  the  closet,  care- 
fully run  the  stick  in  the  door  three  or  four  times.  Then, 
if  nothing  happens,  you  can  look  in.  Always,  always 
run  the  stick  in  viciously  first — never  look  first ! " 

"Of  course,  that's  the  ancient  Celtic  school,"  said 
Tom  gravely. 

"Yes — but  they  usually  pray  first.  Anyway,  you  use 
this  method  to  clear  the  closets  and  also  for  behind  all 
doors " 

"And  the  bed,"  Amory  suggested. 

"Oh,  Amory,  no!"  cried  Alec  in  horror.  "That  isn't 
the  way — the  bed  requires  different  tactics — let  the  bed 
alone,  as  you  value  your  reason — if  there  is  a  ghost  in 
the  room  and  that's  only  about  a  third  of  the  time,  it 
is  almost  always  under  the  bed." 

"Well—"  Amory  began. 

Alec  waved  him  into  silence. 

"Of  course  you  never  look.  You  stand  in  the  middle 
of  the  floor  and  before  he  knows  what  you're  going  to 
do  make  a  sudden  leap  for  the  bed — never  walk  near 
the  bed;  to  a  ghost  your  ankle  is  your  most  vulnerable 
part — once  in  bed,  you're  safe;  he  may  fie  around  un- 
der the  bed  all  night,  but  you're  safe  as  daylight.  If 
you  still  have  doubts  pull  the  blanket  over  your  head." 

"All  that's  very  interesting,  Tom." 

"Isn't  it?"  Alec  beamed  proudly.  "All  my  own,  too 
— the  Sir  Oliver  Lodge  of  the  new  world." 

Amory  was  enjoying  college  immensely  again.  The 
sense  of  going  forward  in  a  direct,  determined  line  had 
come  back;  youth  was  stirring  and  shaking  out  a  few 
new  feathers.  He  had  even  stored  enough  surplus  en- 
ergy to  sally  into  a  new  pose. 


NARCISSUS"  OFF  DUTY  140 

"What's  the  idea  of  all  this  'distracted '  stuff,  Amory  ?  " 
asked  Alec  one  day,  and  then  as  Amory  pretended  to  be 
cramped  over  his  book  in  a  daze:  "Oh,  don't  try  to  act 
Burne,  the  mystic,  to  me." 

Amory  looked  up  innocently. 

"What?" 

"What?"  mimicked  Alec.  "Are  you  trying  to  read 
yourself  into  a  rhapsody  with — let's  see  the  book." 

He  snatched  it;  regarded  it  derisively. 

"Well?"  said  Amory  a  little  stiffly. 

"  'The  Life  of  St.  Teresa/  "  read  Alec  aloud.  "Oh, 
my  gosh!" 

"Say,  Alec." 

"What?" 

"Does  it  bother  you?" 

"Does  what  bother  me?" 

"My  acting  dazed  and  all  that?" 

"Why,  no — of  course  it  doesn't  bother  me." 

"Well,  then,  don't  spoil  it.  If  I  enjoy  going  around 
telling  people  guilelessly  that  I  think  I'm  a  genius,  let 
me  do  it." 

"You're  getting  a  reputation  for  being  eccentric," 
said  Alec,  laughing,  "if  that's  what  you  mean." 

Amory  finally  prevailed,  and  Alec  agreed  to  accept 
his  face  value  in  the  presence  of  others  if  he  was  al- 
lowed rest  periods  when  they  were  alone;  so  Amory 
"ran  it  out"  at  a  great  rate,  bringing  the  most  eccentric 
characters  to  dinner,  wild-eyed  grad  students,  pre- 
ceptors with  strange  theories  of  God  and  government, 
to  the  cynical  amazement  of  the  supercilious  Cottage 
Club. 

As  February  became  slashed  by  sun  and  moved 
cheerfully  into  March,  Amory  went  several  times  to 
spend  week-ends  with  Monsignor;  once  he  took  Burne, 
with  great  success,  for  he  took  equal  pride  and  delight 


ISO  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

in  displaying  them  to  each  other.  Monsignor  took  him 
several  times  to  see  Thornton  Hancock,  and  once  or  twice 
to  the  house  of  a  Mrs.  Lawrence,  a  type  of  Rome- 
haunting  American  whom  Amory  liked  immediately. 

Then  one  day  came  a  letter  from  Monsignor,  which 
appended  an  interesting  P.  S.: 

"Do  you  know,"  it  ran,  "that  your  third  cousin,  Clara  Page, 
widowed  six  months  and  very  poor,  is  living  in  Philadelphia? 
I  don't  think  you've  ever  met  her,  but  I  wish,  as  a  favor  to  me, 
you'd  go  to  see  her.  To  my  mind,  she's  rather  a  remarkable 
woman,  and  just  about  your  age." 

Amory  sighed  and  decided  to  go,  as  a  favor.  .  .  . 

CLARA 

She  was  immemorial.  .  .  .  Amory  wasn't  good 
enough  for  Clara,  Clara  of  ripply  golden  hair,  but  then 
no  man  was.  Her  goodness  was  above  the  prosy  morals 
of  the  husband-seeker,  apart  from  the  dull  literature  of 
female  virtue. 

Sorrow  lay  lightly  around  her,  and  when  Amory  found 
her  in  Philadelphia  he  thought  her  steely  blue  eyes  held 
only  happiness;  a  latent  strength,  a  realism,  was  brought 
to  its  fullest  development  by  the  facts  that  she  was 
compelled  to  face.  She  was  alone  in  the  world,  with 
two  small  children,  little  money,  and,  worst  of  all,  a  host 
of  friends.  He  saw  her  that  winter  in  Philadelphia 
entertaining  a  houseful  of  men  for  an  evening,  when  he 
knew  she  had  not  a  servant  in  the  house  except  the  lit- 
tle colored  girl  guarding  the  babies  overhead.  He  saw 
one  of  the  greatest  libertines  in  that  city,  a  man  who 
was  habitually  drunk  and  notorious  at  home  and 
abroad,  sitting  opposite  her  for  an  evening,  discussing 
girls'  boarding-schools  with  a  sort  of  innocent  excite- 


NARCISSUS   OFF   DUTY  151 

ment.  What  a  twist  Clara  had  to  her  mind  !  She  could 
make  fascinating  and  almost  brilliant  conversation  out 
of  the  thinnest  air  that  ever  floated  through  a  drawing- 
room. 

The- idea  that  the  girl  was  poverty-stricken  had  ap- 
pealed to  Amory's  sense  of  situation.  He  arrived  in 
Philadelphia  expecting  to  be  told  that  921  Ark  Street 
was  in  a  miserable  lane  of  hovels.  He  was  even  disap- 
pointed when  it  proved  to  be  nothing  of  the  sort.  It 
was  an  old  house  that  had  been  in  her  husband's  fam- 
ily for  years.  An  elderly  aunt,  who  objected  to  having 
it  sold,  had  put  ten  years'  taxes  with  a  lawyer  and 
pranced  off  to  Honolulu,  leaving  Clara  to  struggle  with 
the  heating-problem  as  best  she  could.  So  no  wild- 
haired  woman  with  a  hungry  baby  at  her  breast  and  a 
sad  Amelia-like  look  greeted  him.  Instead,  Amory 
would  have  thought  from  his  reception  that  she  had  not 
a  care  in  the  world. 

A  calm  virility  and  a  dreamy  humor,  marked  con- 
trasts to  her  level-headedness — into  these  moods  she 
slipped  sometimes  as  a  refuge.  She  could  do  the  most 
prosy  things  (though  she  was  wise  enough  never  to 
stultify  herself  with  such  "household  arts"  as  knitting 
and  embroidery},  yet  immediately  afterward  pick  up  a 
book  and  let  her  imagination  rove  as  a  formless  cloud 
with  the  wind.  Deepest  of  all  in  her  personality  was 
the  golden  radiance  that  she  diffused  around  her.  As 
an  open  fire  in  a  dark  room  throws  romance  and  pathos 
into  the  quiet  faces  at  its  edge,  so  she  cast  her  lights 
and  shadows  around  the  rooms  that  held  her,  until  she 
made  of  her  prosy  old  uncje  a  man  of  quaint  and 
meditative  charm,  metamorphosed  the  stray  telegraph 
boy  into  a  Puck-like  creature  of  delightful  originality. 
At  first  this  quality  of  hers  somehow  irritated  Amory. 
He  considered  his  own  uniqueness  sufficient,  and  it 


152  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

rather  embarrassed  him  when  she  tried  to  read  new 
interests  into  him  for  the  benefit  of  what  other  adorers 
were  present.  He  felt  as  if  a  polite  but  insistent  stage- 
manager  were  attempting  to  make  him  give  a  new  in- 
terpretation of  a  part  he  had  conned  for  years. 

But  Clara  talking,  Clara  telling  a  slender  tale  of  a  hat- 
pin and  an  inebriated  man  and  herself.  .  .  .  People 
tried  afterward  to  repeat  her  anecdotes  but  for  the  life 
of  them  they  could  make  them  sound  like  nothing 
whatever.  They  gave  her  a  sort  of  innocent  attention 
and  the  best  smiles  many  of  them  had  smiled  for  long; 
there  were  few  tears  in  Clara,  but  people  smiled  misty- 
eyed  at  her. 

Very  occasionally  Amory  stayed  for  little  half-hours 
after  the  rest  of  the  court  had  gone,  and  they  would 
have  bread  and  jam  and  tea  late  in  the  afternoon  or 
"maple-sugar  lunches,"  as  she  called  them,  at  night. 

"You  are  remarkable,  aren't  you!"  Amory  was  be- 
coming trite  from  where  he  perched  in  the  centre  of  the 
dining-room  table  one  six  o'clock. 

"Not  a  bit,"  she  answered.  She  was  searching  out 
napkins  in  the  sideboard.  "I'm  really  most  humdrum 
and  commonplace.  One  of  those  people  who  have  no 
interest  in  anything  but  their  children." 

"Tell  that  to  somebody  else,"  scoffed  Amory.  "You 
know  you're  perfectly  effulgent."  He  asked  her  the 
one  thing  that  he  knew  might  embarrass  her.  It  was  the 
remark  that  the  first  bore  made  to  Adam. 

"Tell  me  about  yourself."  And  she  gave  the  answer 
that  Adam  must  have  given. 

"There's  nothing  to  tell." 

But  eventually  Adam  probably  told  the  bore  all  the 
things  he  thought  about  at  night  when  the  locusts  sang 
in  the  sandy  grass,  and  he  must  have  remarked  patroniz- 
ingly how  different  he  was  from  Eve,  forgetting  how  dif- 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  153 

ferent  she  was  from  him  ...  at  any  rate,  Clara  told 
Amory  much  about  herself  that  evening.  She  had  had  a 
harried  life  from  sixteen  on,  and  her  education  had 
stopped  sharply  with  her  leisure.  Browsing  in  her  li- 
brary, Amory  found  a  tattered  gray  book  out  of  which 
fell  a  yellow  sheet  that  he  impudently  opened.  It  was 
a  poem  that  she  had  written  at  school  about  a  gray 
convent  wall  on  a  gray  day,  and  a  girl  with  her  cloak 
blown  by  the  wind  sitting  atop  of  it  and  thinking  about 
the  many-colored  world.  As  a  rule  such  sentiment 
bored  him,  but  this  was  done  with  so  much  simplicity 
and  atmosphere,  that  it  brought  a  picture  of  Clara  to 
his  mind,  of  Clara  on  such  a  cool,  gray  day  with  her 
keen  blue  eyes  staring  out,  trying  to  see  her  tragedies 
come  marching  over  the  gardens  outside.  He  envied 
that  poem.  How  he  would  have  loved  to  have  come 
along  and  seen  her  on  the  wall  and  talked  nonsense  or 
romance  to  her,  perched  above  him  in  the  air.  He  be- 
gan to  be  frightfully  jealous  of  everything  about  Clara: 
of  her  past,  of  her  babies,  of  the  men  and  women  who 
flocked  to  drink  deep  of  her  cool  kindness  and  rest  their 
tired  minds  as  at  an  absorbing  play. 

"Nobody  seems  to  bore  you,"  he  objected. 

"About  half  the  world  do,"  she  admitted,  "but  I 
think  that's  a  pretty  good  average,  don't  you?"  and 
she  turned  to  find  something  in  Browning  that  bore  on 
the  subject.  She  was  the  only  person  he  ever  met  who 
could  look  up  passages  and  quotations  to  show  him  in 
the  middle  of  the  conversation,  and  yet  not  be  irritat- 
ing to  distraction.  She  did  it  constantly,  with  such  a 
serious  enthusiasm  that  he  grew  fond  of  watching  her 
golden  hair  bent  over  a  book,  brow  wrinkled  ever  so 
little  at  hunting  her  sentence. 

Through  early  March  he  took  to  going  to  Philade.- 
phia  for  week-ends.  Almost  always  there  was  some  one 


154  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

else  there  and  she  seemed  not  anxious  to  see  him  alone, 
for  many  occasions  presented  themselves  when  a  word 
from  he"r  would  have  given  him  another  delicious  half- 
hour  of  adoration.  But  he  fell  gradually  in  love  and 
began  to  speculate  wildly  on  marriage.  Though  this 
design  flowed  through  his  brain  even  to  his  lips,  still  he 
knew  afterward  that  the  desire  had  not  been  deeply 
rooted.  Once  he  dreamt  that  it  had  come  true  and 
woke  up  in  a  cold  panic,  for  in  his  dream  she  had  been  a 
silly,  flaxen  Clara,  with  the  gold  gone  out  of  her  hair 
and  platitudes  falling  insipidly  from  her  changeling 
tongue.  But  she  was  the  first  fine  woman  he  ever  knew 
and  one  of  the  few  good  people  who  ever  interested  him. 
She  made  her  goodness  such  an  asset.  Amory  had  de- 
cided that  most  good  people  either  dragged  theirs  after 
them  as  a  liability,  or  else  distorted  it  to  artificial  genial- 
ity, and  of  course  there  were  the  ever-present  prig  and 
Pharisee — (but  Amory  never  included  them  as  being 
among  the  saved). 

ST.  CECILIA 

"Over  her  gray  and  velvet  dress, 

Under  her  molten,  beaten  hair, 
Color  of  rose  in  mock  distress 

Flushes  and  jades  and  makes  her  fair ; 
Fills  the  air  from  her  to  him 

With  light  and  languor  and  little  sighs, 
Just  so  subtly  he  scarcely  knows  .  .  . 

Laughing  lightning,  color  of  rose" 

"Do  you  like  me?" 

"Of  course  I  do,"  said  Clara  seriously. 

"Why?" 

"Well,  we  have  some  qualities  in  common.  Things 
that  are  spontaneous  in  each  of  us — or  were  originally." 

"You're  implying  that  I  haven't  used  myself  very 
well?" 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  155 

Clara  hesitated. 

"Well,  I  can't  judge.  A  man,  of  course,  has  to  go 
through  a  lot  more,  and  I've  been  sheltered." 

"Oh,  don't  stall,  please,  Clara,"  Amory  interrupted; 
"but  do  talk  about  me  a  little,  won't  you?" 

"Surely,  I'd  adore  to."    She  didn't  smile. 

"That's  sweet  of  you.  First  answer  some  questions. 
Am  I  painfully  conceited?" 

"Well — no,  you  have  tremendous  vanity,  but  it'll 
amuse  the  people  who  notice  its  preponderance." 

"I  see." 

"You're  really  humble  at  heart.  You  sink  to  the 
third  hell  of  depression  when  you  think  you've  beem 
slighted.  In  fact,  you  haven't  much  self-respect." 

"Centre  of  target  twice,  Clara.  How  do  you  do  it? 
You  never  let  me  say  a  word." 

"Of  course  not — I  can  never  judge  a  man  while  he's 
talking.  But  I'm  not  through;  the  reason  you  have  so 
little  real  self-confidence,  even  though  you  gravely  an- 
nounce to  the  occasional  philistine  that  you  think  you're 
a  genius,  is  that  you've  attributed  all  sorts  of  atrocious 
faults  to  yourself  and  are  trying  to  live  up  to  them.  For 
instance,  you're  always  saying  that  you  are  a  slave  to 
high-balls." 

"But  I  am,  potentially." 

"And  you  say  you're  a  weak  character,  that  you've 
no  will." 

"Not  a  bit  of  will — I'm  a  slave  to  my  emotions,  to 
my  likes,  to  my  hatred  of  boredom,  to  most  of  my  de- 
sires 

"You  are  not!"  She  brought  one  little  fist  down 
onto  the  other.  "You're  a  slave,  a  bound  helpless  slave 
to  one  thing  in  the  world,  your  imagination." 

"You  certainly  interest  me.  If  this  isn't  boring  you, 
go  on." 


156  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"I  notice  that  when  you  want  to  stay  over  an  extra 
day  from  college  you  go  about  it  in  a  sure  way.  You 
never  decide  at  first  while  the  merits  of  going  or  stay- 
ing are  fairly  clear  in  your  mind.  You  let  your  imagina- 
tion shinny  on  the  side  of  your  desires  for  a  few  hours, 
and  then  you  decide.  Naturally  your  imagination, 
after  a  little  freedom,  thinks  up  a  million  reasons  why 
you  should  stay,  so  your  decision  when  it  comes  isn't 
true.  It's  biassed." 

"Yes,"  objected  Amory,  "but  isn't  it  lack  of  will- 
power to  let  my  imagination  shinny  on  the  wrong  side  ?  " 

"My  dear  boy,  there's  your  big  mistake.  This  has 
nothing  to  do  with  will-power;  that's  a  crazy,  useless 
word,  anyway;  you  lack  judgment — the  judgment  to 
decide  at  once  when  you  know  your  imagination  will 
play  you  false,  given  half  a  chance." 

"Well,  I'll  be  darned !"  exclaimed  Amory  in  surprise, 
"that's  the  last  thing  I  expected." 

Clara  didn't  gloat.  She  changed  the  subject  im- 
mediately. But  she  had  started  him  thinking  and  he 
believed  she  was  partly  right.  He  felt  like  a  factory- 
owner  who  after  accusing  a  clerk  of  dishonesty  finds 
that  his  own  son,  in  the  office,  is  changing  the  books 
once  a  week.  His  poor,  mistreated  will  that  he  had  been 
holding  up  to  the  scorn  of  himself  and  his  friends,  stood 
before  him  innocent,  and  his  judgment  walked  off  to 
prison  with  the  unconfinable  imp,  imagination,  danc- 
ing in  mocking  glee  beside  him.  Clara's  was  the  only 
advice  he  ever  asked  without  dictating  the  answer  him- 
self— except,  perhaps,  in  his  talks  with  Monsignor 
Darcy. 

How  he  loved  to  do  any  sort  of  thing  with  Clara! 
Shopping  with  her  was  a  rare,  epicurean  dream.  In 
every  store  where  she  had  ever  traded  she  was  whispered 
about  as  the  beautiful  Mrs.  Page. 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  157 

"I'll  bet  she  won't  stay  single  long." 

"Well,  don't  scream  it  out.  She  ain't  lookin'  for  no 
advice." 

"Ain't  she  beautiful!" 

(Enter  a  floor-walker — silence  till  he  moves  for- 
ward, smirking.) 

"Society  person,  ain't  she?" 

"Yeah,  but  poor  now,  I  guess;  so  they  say." 

"Gee!  girls,  ain't  she  some  kid !" 

And  Clara  beamed  on  all  alike.  Amory  believed  that 
tradespeople  gave  her  discounts,  sometimes  to  her 
knowledge  and  sometimes  without  it.  He  knew  she 
dressed  very  well,  had  always  the  best  of  everything  in 
the  house,  and  was  inevitably  waited  upon  by  the  head 
floor-walker  at  the  very  least. 

Sometimes  they  would  go  to  church  together  on  Sun- 
day and  he  would  walk  beside  her  and  revel  in  her 
cheeks  moist  from  the  soft  water  in  the  new  air.  She 
was  very  devout,  always  had  been,  and  God  knows 
what  heights  she  attained  and  what  strength  she  drew 
down  to  herself  when  she  knelt  and  bent  her  golden  hair 
into  the  stained-glass  light. 

"St.  Cecelia,"  he  cried  aloud  one  day,  quite  invol- 
untarily, and  the  people  turned  and  peered,  and  the 
priest  paused  in  his  sermon  and  Clara  and  Amory  turned 
to  fiery  red. 

That  was  the  last  Sunday  they  had,  for  he  spoiled  it 
all  that  night.  He  couldn't  help  it. 

They  were  walking  through  the  March  twilight  where 
it  was  as  warm  as  June,  and  the  joy  of  youth  nlkd  his 
soul  so  that  he  felt  he  must  speak. 

"I  think,"  he  said  and  his  voice  trembled,  "that  if  I 
lost  faith  in  you  I'd  lose  faith  in  God." 

She  looked  at  him  with  such  a  startled  face  that  he 
asked  her  the  matter. 


158  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Nothing,"  she  said  slowly,  "only  this:  five  men  have 
said  that  to  me  before,  and  it  frightens  me." 

"Oh,  Clara,  is  that  your  fate!" 

She  did  not  answer. 

"I  suppose  love  to  you  is — "  he  began. 

She  turned  like  a  flash. 

"I  have  never  been  in  love." 

They  walked  along,  and  he  realized  slowly  how  much 
she  had  told  him  .  .  .  never  in  love.  .  .  .  She  seemed 
suddenly  a  daughter  of  light  alone.  His  entity  dropped 
out  of  her  plane  and  he  longed  only  to  touch  her  dress 
with  almost  the  realization  that  Joseph  must  have  had 
of  Mary's  eternal  significance.  But  quite  mechanic- 
ally he  heard  himself  saying: 

"And  I  love  you — any  latent  greatness  that  I've  got 
is  ...  oh,  I  can't  talk,  but  Clara,  if  I  come  back  in 
two  years  in  a  position  to  marry  you " 

She  shook  her  head. 

"No,"  she  said;  "I'd  never  marry  again.  I've  got 
my  two  children  and  I  want  myself  for  them.  I  like 
•you— I  like  all  clever  men,  you  more  than  any — but 
you  know  me  well  enough  to  know  that  I'd  never  marry 
a  clever  man — "  She  broke  off  suddenly. 

"Amory." 

"What?" 

"You're  not  in  love  with  me.  You  never  wanted  to 
marry  me,  did  you?" 

"It  was  the  twilight,"  he  said  wonderingly.  "I 
didn't  feel  as  though  I  were  speaking  aloud.  But  I 
love  you — or  adore  you — or  worship  you — 

"There  you  go — running  through  your  catalogue  of 
emotions  in  five  seconds." 

He  smiled  unwillingly. 

"Don't  make  me  but  such  a  light-weight,  Clara;  you 
are  depressing  sometimes." 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  159 

"You're  not  a  light-weight,  of  all  things,"  she  said 
intently,  taking  his  arm  and  opening  wide  her  eyes — 
he  could  see  their  kindliness  in  the  fading  dusk.  "A 
light-weight  is  an  eternal  nay." 

"There's  so  much  spring  in  the  air — there's  so  much 
lazy  sweetness  in  your  heart." 

She  dropped  his  arm. 

"You're  all  fine  now,  and  I  feel  glorious.  Give  me  a 
cigarette.  You've  never  seen  me  smoke,  have  you  ? 
Well,  I  do,  about  once  a  month." 

And  then  that  wonderful  girl  and  Amory  raced  to  the 
corner  like  two  mad  children  gone  wild  with  pale-blue 
twilight. 

"I'm  going  to  the  country  for  to-morrow,"  she  an- 
nounced, as  she  stood  panting,  safe  beyond  the  flare  of 
the  corner  lamp-post.  "These  days  are  too  magnificent 
to  miss,  though  perhaps  I  feel  them  more  in  the  city." 

"Oh,  Clara!"  Amory  said;  "what  a  devil  you  could 
have  been  if  the  Lord  had  just  bent  your  soul  a  little 
the  other  way ! " 

"Maybe,"  she  answered;  "but  I  think  not.  I'm  never 
really  wild  and  never  have  been.  That  little  outburst 
was  pure  spring." 

"And  you  are,  too,"  said  he. 

They  were  walking  along  now. 

"No — you're  wrong  again,  how  can  a  person  of  your 
own  self-reputed  brains  be  so  constantly  wrong  about 
me?  I'm  the  opposite  of  everything  spring  ever  stood 
for.  It's  unfortunate,  if  I  happen  to  look  like  what 
pleased  some  soppy  old  Greek  sculptor,  but  I  assure 
you  that  if  it  weren't  for  my  face  I'd  be  a  quiet  nun  in 
the  convent  without" —  then  she  broke  into  a  run 
and  her  raised  voice  floated  back  to  him  as  he  followed 
— "my  precious  babies,  which  I  must  go  back  and  see." 

She  was  the  only  girl  he  ever  knew  with  whom  he 


160  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

could  understand  how  another  man  might  be  preferred. 
Often  Amory  met  wives  whom  he  had  known  as  debu- 
tantes, and  looking  intently  at  them  imagined  that  he 
found  something  in  their  faces  which  said: 

"Oh,  if  I  could  only  have  gotten  youl"  Oh,  the 
enormous  conceit  of  the  man*! 

But  that  night  seemed  a  night  of  stars  and  singing 
and  Clara's  bright  soul  still  gleamed  on  the  ways  they 
had  trod. 

"Golden,  golden  is  the  air — "  he  chanted  to  the  little 
pools  of  water.  .  .  .  "Golden  is  the  air,  golden  notes  from 
golden  mandolins,  golden  frets  of  golden  violins,  fair,  oh, 
wearily  fair.  .  .  .  Skeins  from  braided  basket,  mortals 
may  not  hold;  oh,  what  young  extravagant  God,  who  would 
know  or  ask  it?  .  .  .  who  could  give  suck  gold  .  .  ." 

AMORY  is  RESENTFUL 

Slowly  and  inevitably,  yet  with  a  sudden  surge  at  the 
last,  while  Amory  talked  and  dreamed,  war  rolled  swiftly 
up  the  beach  and  washed  the  sands  where  Princeton 
played.  Every  night  the  gymnasium  echoed  as  platoon 
after  platoon  swept  over  the  floor  and  shuffled  out  the 
basket-ball  markings.  When  Amory  went  to  Wash- 
ington the  next  week-end  he  caught  some  of  the  spirit 
of  crisis  which  changed  to  repulsion  in  the  Pullman  car 
coming  back,  for  the  berths  across  from  him  were  oc- 
cupied by  stinking  aliens — Greeks,  he  guessed,  or 
Russians.  He  thought  how  much  easier  patriotism  had 
been  to  a  homogeneous  race,  how  much  easier  it  would 
have  been  to  fight  as  the  Colonies  fought,  or  as  the  Con- 
federacy fought.  And  he  did  no  sleeping  that  night, 
but  listened  to  the  aliens  guffaw  and  snore  while  they 
filled  the  car  with  the  heavy  scent  of  latest  America. 

In  Princeton  every  one  bantered  in  public  and  told 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  161 

themselves  privately  that  their  deaths  at  least  would  be 
heroic.  The  literary  students  read  Rupert  Brooke 
passionately;  the  lounge-lizards  worried  over  whether 
the  government  would  permit  the  English-cut  uniform 
for  officers;  a  few  of  the  hopelessly  lazy  wrote  to  the 
obscure  branches  of  the  War  Department,  seeking  an 
easy  commission  and  a  soft  berth. 

Then,  after  a  week,  Amory  saw  Burne  and  knew  at 
once  that  argument  would  be  futile — Burne  had  come 
out  as  a  pacifist.  The  socialist  magazines,  a  great  smat- 
tering of  Tolstoi,  and  his  own  intense  longing  for  a 
cause  that  would  bring  out  whatever  strength  lay  in 
him,  had  finally  decided  him  to  preach  peace  as  a  sub- 
jective ideal. 

"When  the  German  army  entered  Belgium,"  he  be- 
gan, "if  the  inhabitants  had  gone  peaceably  about  their 
business,  the  German  army  would  have  been  disor- 
ganized in " 

"I  know,"  Amory  interrupted,  "I've  heard  it  all. 
But  I'm  not  going  to  talk  propaganda  with  you.  There's 
a  chance  that  you're  right — but  even  so  we're  hundreds 
of  years  before  the  time  when  non-resistance  can  touch 
us  as  a  reality." 

"But,  Amory,  listen " 

"Burne,  we'd  just  argue " 

"Very  well." 

"Just  one  thing — I  don't  ask  you  to  think  of  your 
family  or  friends,  because  I  know  they  don't  count  a 
picayune  with  you  beside  your  sense  of  duty — but, 
Burne,  how  do  you  know  that  the  magazines  you  read 
and  the  societies  you  join  and  these  idealists  you  meet 
aren't  just  plain  German?" 

"Some  of  them  are,  of  course." 

"How  do  you  know  they  aren't  all  pro-German — 
just  a  lot  of  weak  ones — with  German- Jewish  names." 


162  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"That's  the  chance,  of  course,"  he  said  slowly.  "How 
much  or  how  little  I'm  taking  this  stand  because  of 
propaganda  I've  heard,  I  don't  know;  naturally  I  think 
that  it's  my  most  innermost  conviction — it  seems  a  path 
spread  before  me  just  now." 

Amory's  heart  sank. 

"But  think  of  the  cheapness  of  it — no  one's  really 
going  to  martyr  you  for  being  a  pacifist — it's  just  going 
to  throw  you  in  with  the  worst " 

"I  doubt  it,"  he  interrupted. 

"Well,  it  all  smells  of  Bohemian  New  York  to  me." 

"I  know  what  you  mean,  and  that's  why  I'm  not  sure 
I'll  agitate." 

"You're  one  man,  Burne — going  to  talk  to  people 
who  won't  listen — with  all  God's  given  you." 

"That's  what  Stephen  must  have  thought  many  years 
ago.  But  he  preached  his  sermon  and  they  killed  him. 
He  probably  thought  as  he  was  dying  what  a  waste  it 
all  was.  But  you  see,  I've  always  felt  that  Stephen's 
death  was  the  thing  that  occurred  to  Paul  on  the  road 
to  Damascus,  and  sent  him  to  preach  the  word  of  Christ 
all  over  the  world." 

"Goon." 

"That's  all — this  is  my  particular  duty.  Even  if 
right  now  I'm  just  a  pawn — just  sacrificed.  God! 
Amory — you  don't  think  /  like  the  Germans ! " 

"Well,  I  can't  say  anything  else — I  get  to  the  end  of 
all  the  logic  about  non-resistance,  and  there,  like  an 
excluded  middle,  stands  the  huge  spectre  of  man  as  he 
is  and  always  will  be.  And  this  spectre  stands  right 
beside  the  one  logical  necessity  of  Tolstoi's,  and  the 
other  logical  necessity  of  Nietzsche's — "  Amory  broke 
off  suddenly.  "When  are  you  going?" 

"I'm,  going  next  week." 

"I'll  see  you,  of  course." 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  163 

As  he  walked  away  it  seemed  to  Amory  that  the  look 
in  his  face  bore  a  great  resemblance  to  that  in  Kerry's 
when  he  had  said  good-by  under  Blair  Arch  two  years 
before.  Amory  wondered  unhappily  why  he  could  never 
go  into  anything  with  the  primal  honesty  of  those  two. 

"Burne's  a  fanatic,"  he  said  to  Tom,  "and  he's  dead 
wrong  and,  I'm  inclined  to  think,  just  an  unconscious 
pawn  in  the  hands  of  anarchistic  publishers  and  Ger- 
man-paid rag  wavers — but  he  haunts  me — just  leaving 
every  thing  worth  while " 

Burne  left  in  a  quietly  dramatic  manner  a  week  later. 
He  sold  all  his  possessions  and  came  down  to  the  room 
to  say  good-by,  with  a  battered  old  bicycle,  on  which  he 
intended  to  ride  to  his  home  in  Pennsylvania. 

"Peter  the  Hermit  bidding  farewell  to  Cardinal 
Richelieu,"  suggested  Alec,  who  was  lounging  in  the 
window-seat  as  Burne  and  Amory  shook  hands. 

But  Amory  was  not  in  a  mood  for  that,  and  as  he  saw 
Burne's  long  legs  propel  his  ridiculous  bicycle  out  of 
sight  beyond  Alexander  Hall,  he  knew  he  was  going  to 
have  a  bad  week.  Not  that  he  doubted  the  war — Ger- 
many stood  for  everything  repugnant  to  him  ;  for  ma- 
terialism and  the  direction  of  tremendous  licentious 
force;  it  was  just  that  Burne's  face  stayed  in  his  mem- 
ory and  he  was  sick  of  the  hysteria  he  was  beginning  to 
hear. 

"What  on  earth  is  the  use  of  suddenly  running  down 
Goethe,"  he  declared  to  Alec  and  Tom.  "Why  write 
books  to  prove  he  started  the  war — or  that  that  stupid, 
overestimated  Schiller  is  a  demon  in  disguise?" 

"Have  you  ever  read  anything  of  theirs?"  asked  Tom 
shrewdly. 

"No,"  Amory  admitted. 

"Neither  have  I,"  he  said  laughing. 

"People  will  shout,"  said  Alec  quietly,  "but  Goethe's 


164  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

on  his  same  old  shelf  in  the  library — to  bore  any  one 
that  wants  to  read  him  ! " 

Amory  subsided,  and  the  subject  dropped. 

"What  are  you  going  to  do,  Amory?" 

"Infantry  or  aviation,  I  can't  make  up  my  mind — I 
hate  mechanics,  but  then  of  course  aviation's  the  thing 
for  me " 

"I  feel  as  Amory  does,"  said  Tom.  "Infantry  or 
aviation — aviation  sounds  like  the  romantic  side  of  the 
war,  of  course — like  cavalry  used  to  be,  you  know;  but 
like  Amory  I  don't  know  a  horse-power  from  a  piston- 
rod." 

Somehow  Amory's  dissatisfaction  with  his  lack  of 
enthusiasm  culminated  in  an  attempt  to  put  the  blame 
for  the  whole  war  on  the  ancestors  of  his  generation  .  .  . 
all  the  people  who  cheered  for  Germany  in  1870.  .  .  . 
All  the  materialists  rampant,  all  the  idolizers  of  German 
science  and  efficiency.  So  he  sat  one  day  in  an  Eng- 
lish lecture  and  heard  "Locksley  Hall"  quoted  and  fell 
into  a  brown  study  with  contempt  for  Tennyson  and  all 
he  stood  for — for  he  took  him  as  a  representative  of  the 
Victorians. 

"  Victorians,  Victorians,  who  never  learned  to  weep 
Who  sowed  the  bitter  harvest  that  your  children  go  to  reap " 

scribbled  Amory  in  his  note-book.  The  lecturer  was 
saying  something  about  Tennyson's  solidity  and  fifty 
heads  were  bent  to  take  notes.  Amory  turned  over  to 
a  fresh  page  and  began  scrawling  again. 

"  They  shuddered  when  they  found  what  Mr.  Darwin  WAS  about, 
They  shuddered  when  the  waltz  came  in  and  Newman  hurried 

But  the  waltz  came  in  much  earlier;  he  crossed  that 
out. 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  165 

"And  entitled  A  Song  in  the  Time  of  Order"  came  the 
professor's  voice,  droning  far  away.  "Time  of  Order" 
— Good  Lord!  Everything  crammed  in  the  box  and 
the  Victorians  sitting  on  the  lid  smiling  serenely.  .  .  . 
With  Browning  in  his  Italian  villa  crying  bravely: 
"All's  for  the  best."  Amory  scribbled  again. 

"  You  knelt  up  in  the  temple  and  he  bent  to  hear  you  pray, 
You  thanked  him  for  your  'glorious  gains' — reproached  him  for 
1 Cathay.'" 

Why  could  he  never  get  more  than  a  couplet  at  a  time  ? 
Now  he  needed  something  to  rhyme  with: 

"  You  would  keep  Him  straight  with  science,  tho  He  had  gone  wrong 
before  ..." 

Well,  anyway.  .  .  . 

"  You  met  your  children  in  your  home — '  I've  fixed  it  up  t '  you  cried, 
Took  your  fifty  years  of  Europe,  and  then  virtuously — died." 

"That  was  to  a  great  extent  Tennyson's  idea,"  came 
the  lecturer's  voice.  "Swinburne's  Song  in  the  Time  of 
Order  might  well  have  been  Tennyson's  title.  He  ideal- 
ized order  against  chaos,  against  waste." 

At  last  Amory  had  it.    He  turned  over  another  page 

and  scrawled  vigorously  for  the  twenty  minutes  that 

was  left  of  the  hour.    Then  he  walked  up  to  the  desk 

and  deposited  a  page  torn  out  of  his  note-book. 

•  "Here's  a  poem  to  the  Victorians,  sir,"  he  said  coldly. 

The  professor  picked  it  up  curiously  while  Amory 
backed  rapidly  through  the  door. 

Here  is  what  he  had  written: 

"Songs  in  the  time  of  order 
You  left  for  us  to  sing, 
Proofs  with  excluded  middles, 
Answers  to  life  in  rhyme, 


166  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Keys  of  the  prison  warder 
And  ancient  bells  to  ring, 
Time  was  the  end  of  riddles, 
We  were  the  end  of  time  .  .  .  , 

Here  were  domestic  oceans 
And  a  sky  that  we  might  reach, 
Guns  and  a  guarded  border, 
Gantlets — but  not  to  fling, 
Thousands  of  old  emotions 
And  a  platitude  for  each, 
Songs  in  the  time  of  order — 
And  tongues,  that  we  might  sing." 

THE  END  OF  MANY  THINGS 

Early  April  slipped  by  in  a  haze — a  haze  of  long  eve- 
nings on  the  club  veranda  with  the  graphophone  play- 
ing "Poor  Butterfly"  inside  ...  for  "Poor  Butterfly" 
had  been  the  song  of  that  last  year.  The  war  seemed 
scarcely  to  touch  them  and  it  might  have  been  one  of 
the  senior  springs  of  the  past,  except  for  the  drilling 
every  other  afternoon,  yet  Amory  realized  poignantly 
that  this  was  the  last  spring  under  the  old  regime. 

"This  is  the  great  protest  against  the  superman," 
said  Amory. 

"I  suppose  so,"  Alec  agreed. 

"He's  absolutely  irreconcilable  with  any  Utopia.  As 
long  as  he  occurs,  there's  trouble  and  all  the  latent  evil 
^  that  makes  a  crowd  list  and  sway  when  he  talks." 

"And  of  course  all  that  he  is  is  a  gifted  man  with- 
out a  moral  sense." 

"That's  all.  I  think  the  worst  thing  to  contemplate 
is  this — it's  all  happened  before,  how  soon  will  it  happen 
again?  Fifty  years  after  Waterloo  Napoleon  was  as 
much  a  hero  to  English  school  children  as  Wellington. 
How  do  we  know  our  grandchildren  won't  idolize  Von 
Hindenburg  the  same  way?" 


NARCISSUS  OFF  DUTY  167 

"What  brings  it  about?" 

"Time,  damn  it,  and  the  historian.  If  we  could  only 
learn  to  look  on  evil  as  evil,  whether  it's  clothed  in  filth 
or  monotony  or  magnificence." 

"God !  Haven't  we  raked  the  universe  over  the  coals 
for  four  years?" 

Then  the  night  came  that  was  to  be  the  last.  Tom 
and  Amory,  bound  in  the  morning  for  different  training- 
camps,  paced  the  shadowy  walks  as  usual  and  seemed 
still  to  see  around  them  the  faces  of  the  men  they  knew. 

"The  grass  is  full  of  ghosts  to-night." 

"The  whole  campus  is  alive  with  them." 

They  paused  by  Little  and  watched  the  moon  rise,  to 
make  silver  of  the  slate  roof  of  Dodd  and  blue  the  rus- 
tling trees. 

"You  know,"  whispered  Tom,  "what  we  feel  now  is 
the  sense  of  all  the  gorgeous  youth  that  has  rioted 
through  here  in  two  hundred  years. 

A  last  burst  of  singing  flooded  up  from  Blair  Arch — 
broken  voices  for  some  long  parting. 

"And  what  we  leave  here  is  more  than  this  class;  it's 
the  whole  heritage  of  youth.  We're  just  one  genera- 
tion— we're  breaking  all  the  links  that  seemed  to  bind 
us  here  to  top-booted  and  high-stocked  generations. 
We've  walked  arm  and  arm  with  Burr  and  Light-Horse 
Harry  Lee  through  half  these  deep-blue  nights." 

"That's  what  they  are,"  Tom  tangented  off,  "deep 
blue — a  bit  of  color  would  spoil  them,  make  them 
exotic.  Spires,  against  a  sky  that's  a  promise  of  dawn, 
and  blue  light  on  the  slate  roofs — it  hurts  .  .  . 
rather— 

"Good-by,  Aaron  Burr,"  Amory  called  toward  de- 
serted Nassau  Hall,  "you  and  I  knew  strange  corners  of 
life." 

His  voice  echoed  in  the  stillness. 


i68  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"The  torches  are  out,"  whispered  Tom.  "Ah,  Mes- 
salina,  the  long  shadows  are  building  minarets  on  the 
stadium — 

For  an  instant  the  voices  of  freshman  year  surged 
around  them  and  then  they  looked  at  each  other  with 
faint  tears  in  their  eyes. 

"Damn!" 

"Damn!" 

The  last  light  fades  and  drifts  across  the  land' — the  low, 
long  land,  the  sunny  land  of  spires;  the  ghosts  of  evening 
tune  again  their  lyres  and  wander  singing  in  a  plaintive 
band  down  the  long  corridors  of  trees;  pale  fires  echo  the 
night  from  tower  top  to  tower:  Oh,  sleep  that  dreams,  and 
dream  that  never  tires,  press  from  the  petals  of  the  lotus 
flower  something  of  this  to  keep,  the  essence  of  an  hour. 

No  more  to  wait  the  twilight  of  the  moon  in  this  se- 
questered vale  of  star  and  spire,  for  one  eternal  morning 
of  desire  fosses  to  time  and  earthy  afternoon.  Here, 
Heraclitus,  did  you  find  in  fire  and  shifting  things  the 
prophecy  you  hurled  down  the  dead  years;  this  midnight 
my  desire  will  see,  shadowed  among  the  embers,  furled  in 
flame,  the  splendor  and  the  sadness  of  the  world. 


INTERLUDE 
MAY,  1917— FEBRUARY,  1919 


A  letter  dated  January,  1918,  written  by  Monsignor  Darcy 
to  Amory,  who  is  a  second  lieutenant  in  the  17 is/ 
Infantry,  Port  of  Embarkation,  Camp  Mills,  Long 
Island. 

MY  DEAR  BOY: — 

All  you  need  tell  me  of  yourself  is  that  you  still  are;  for  the 
rest  I  merely  search  back  in  a  restive  memory,  a  thermometer 
that  records  only  fevers,  and  match  you  with  what  I  was  at  your 
age.  But  men  will  chatter  and  you  and  I  will  still  shout  our 
futilities  to  each  other  across  the  stage  until  the  last  silly  curtain 
falls  plump!  upon  our  bobbing  heads.  But  you  are  starting  the 
spluttering  magic-lantern  show  of  life  with  much  the  same  ar- 
ray of  slides  as  I  had,  so  I  need  to  write  you  if  only  to  shriek 
the  colossal  stupidity  of  people.  .  .  . 

This  is  the  end  of  one  thing:  for  better  or  worse  you  will 
never  again  be  quite  the  Amory  Blaine  that  I  knew,  never  again 
will  we  meet  as  we  have  met,  because  your  generation  is  growing 
hard,  much  harder  than  mine  ever  grew,  nourished  as  they  were 
on  the  stuff  of  the  nineties. 

Amory,  lately  I  reread  ^Eschylus  and  there  in  the  divine 
irony  of  the  "  Agamemnon"  I  find  the  only  answer  to  this  bitter 
age — all  the  world  tumbled  about  our  ears,  and  the  closest 
parallel  ages  back  in  that  hopeless  resignation.  There  are  times 
when  I  think  of  the  men  out  there  as  Roman  legionaries,  miles 
from  their  corrupt  city,  stemming  back  the  hordes  .  .  .  hordes  a 
little  more  menacing,  after  all,  than  the  corrupt  city  .  .  .  an- 
other blind  blow  at  the  race,  furies  that  we  passed  with  ovations 
years  ago,  over  whose  corpses  we  bleated  triumphantly  all 
through  the  Victorian  era.  .  .  . 

And  afterward  an  out-and-out  materialistic  world — and  the 
Catholic  Church.  I  wonder  where  you'll  fit  in.  Of  one  thing 
I'm  sure — Celtic  you'll  live  and  Celtic  you'll  die;  so  if  you  don't 
use  heaven  as  a  continual  referendum  for  your  ideas  you'll  find 
earth  a  continual  recall  to  your  ambitions. 

Amory,  I've  discovered  suddenly  that  I'm  an  old  man.  Like 
all  old  men,  I've  had  dreams  sometimes  and  I'm  going  to  tell 
you  of  them.  I've  enjoyed  imagining  that  you  were  my  son, 

171 


172  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

that  perhaps  when  I  was  young  I  went  into  a  state  of  coma  and 
begat  you,  and  when  I  came  to,  had  no  recollection  of  it  ... 
it's  the  paternal  instinct,  Amory — celibacy  goes  deeper  than  the 
flesh.  .  .  . 

Sometimes  I  think  that  the  explanation  of  our  deep  resem- 
blance is  some  common  ancestor,  and  I  find  that  the  only  blood 
that  the  Darcys  and  the  O'Haras  have  in  common  is  that  of  the 
O'Donahues  .  .  .  Stephen  was  his  name,  I  think.  .  .  . 

When  the  lightning  strikes  one  of  us  it  strikes  both:  you  had 
hardly  arrived  at  the  port  of  embarkation  when  I  got  my  papers 
to  start  for  Rome,  and  I  am  waiting  every  moment  to  be  told 
where  to  take  ship.  Even  before  you  get  this  letter  I  shall  be 
on  the  ocean;  then  will  come  your  turn.  You  went  to  war  as  a 
gentleman  should,  just  as  you  went  to  school  and  college,  be- 
cause it  was  the  thing  to  do.  It's  better  to  leave  the  blustering 
and  tremulo-heroism  to  the  middle  classes;  they  do  it  so  much 
better. 

Do  you  remember  that  week-end  last  March  when  you 
brought  Burne  Holiday  from  Princeton  to  see  me?  What  a 
magnificent  boy  he  is !  It  gave  me  a  frightful  shock  afterward 
when  you  wrote  that  he  thought  me  splendid;  how  could  he  be 
so  deceived?  Splendid  is  the  one  thing  that  neither  you  nor  I 
are.  We  are  many  other  things — we're  extraordinary,  we're 
clever,  we  could  be  said,  I  suppose,  to  be  brilliant.  We  can  at- 
tract people,  we  can  make  atmosphere,  we  can  almost  lose  our 
Celtic  souls  in  Celtic  subtleties,  we  can  almost  always  have  our 
own  way;  but  splendid — rather  not! 

I  am  going  to  Rome  with  a  wonderful  dossier  and  letters  of 
introduction  that  cover  every  capital  in  Europe,  and  there  will 
be  "no  small  stir"  when  I  get  there.  How  I  wish  you  were 
with  me!  This  sounds  like  a  rather  cynical  paragraph,  not  at 
all  the  sort  of  thing  that  a  middle-aged  clergyman  should  write 
to  a  youth  about  to  depart  for  the  war;  the  only  excuse  is  that 
the  middle-aged  clergyman  is  talking  to  himself.  There  are 
deep  things  in  us  and  you  know  what  they  are  as  well  as  I  do. 
We  have  great  faith,  though  yours  at  present  is  uncrystallized; 
we  have  a  terrible  honesty  that  all  our  sophistry  cannot  destroy 
and,  above  all,  a  childlike  simplicity  that  keeps  us  from  ever 
being  really  malicious. 

I  have  written  a  keen  for  you  which  follows.  I  am  sorry 
your  cheeks  are  not  up  to  the  description  I  have  written  of 
them,  but  you  will  smoke  and  read  all  night 


INTERLUDE  173 

At  any  rate  here  it  is: 

A  Lament  for  a  Foster  Son,  and  He  going  to  Ike  War  Against  the 

King  of  Foreign. 
"Ochone 
He  is  gone  from  me  the  son  of  my  mind 

And  he  in  his  golden  youth  like  Angus  Oge 
Angus  of  the  bright  birds 

And  his  mind  strong  and  subtle  like  the  mind  of  Cuchulin  oa 
Muirtheme. 

Awirra  sthrue 

His  brow  is  as  white  as  the  milk  of  the  cows  of  Maeve 

And  his  cheeks  like  the  cherries  of  the  tree 
And  it  bending  down  to  Mary  and  she  feeding  the  Son  of  God. 

Aveelia  Vrone 

His  hair  is  like  the  golden  collar  of  the  Kings  at  Tara 

And  his  eyes  like  the  four  gray  seas  of  Erin. 
And  they  swept  with  the  mists  of  rain. 

Mavrone  go  Gudyo 

He  to  be  in  the  joyful  and  red  battle 

Amongst  the  chieftains  and  they  doing  great  deeds  of  valor 
His  life  to  go  from  him 

It  is  the  chords  of  my  own  soul  would  be  loosed. 

A  Vich  Deelish 

My  heart  is  in  the  heart  of  my  son 

And  my  life  is  in  his  life  surely 
A  man  can  be  twice  young 

In  the  life  of  his  sons  only. 

Jia  du  Vaha  Alanav 
May  the  Son  of  God  be  above  him  and  beneath  him,  before  him 

and  behind  him 
May  the  King  of  the  elements  cast  a  mist  over  the  eyes  of  the 

King  of  Foreign, 

May  the  Queen  of  the  Graces  lead  him  by  the  hand  the  way  he 
can  go  through  the  midst  of  his  enemies  and  they  not  see- 
ing 


174  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

May  Patrick  of  the  Gael  and  Collumb  of  the  Churches  and 
the  five  thousand  Saints  of  Erin  be  better  than  a  shield  to 
him 
And  he  go  into  the  fight. 

Och  Ochone." 

Amory — Amory — I  feel,  somehow,  that  this  is  all;  one  or 
both  of  us  is  not  going  to  last  out  this  war.  ...  I've  been 
trying  to  tell  you  how  much  this  reincarnation  of  myself  in  you 
has  meant  in  the  last  few  years  .  .  .  curiously  alike  we  are 
.  .  .  curiously  unlike. 

Good-by,  dear  boy,  and  God  be  with  you. 

THAYER  DARCY. 


EMBARKING  AT  NIGHT 

Amory  moved  forward  on  the  deck  until  he  found  a 
stool  under  an  electric  light.  He  searched  in  his  pocket 
for  note-book  and  pencil  and  then  began  to  write, 
slowly,  laboriously: 

"We  leave  to-night  .  .  . 

Silent,  we  filled  the  still,  deserted  street, 

A  column  of  dim  gray, 
And  ghosts  rose  startled  at  the  muffled  beat 

Along  the  moonless  way; 
The  shadowy  shipyards  echoed  to  the  feet 

That  turned  from  night  and  day. 

And  so  we  linger  on  the  windless  decks, 

See  on  the  spectre  shore 
Shades  of  a  thousand  days,  poor  gray-ribbed  wrecks  .  .  . 

Oh,  shall  we  then  deplore 
Those  futile  year  si 

See  how  the  sea  is  white! 
The  clouds  have  broken  and  the  heavens  burn 

To  hollow  highways,  paved  with  gravelled  light 
The  churning  of  the  waves  about  the  stern 

Rises  to  one  voluminous  nocturne, 

.  .  .  We  leave  to-night." 


INTERLUDE  175 

A  letter  from  Amory,  headed  "Brest,  March  nth,  1919," 
to  Lieutenant  T.  P.  D'lnvilliers,  Camp  Gordon.  Ga. 

DEAR  BAUDELAIRE: — 

We  meet  in  Manhattan  on  the  3oth  of  this  very  mo.;  we 
then  proceed  to  take  a  very  sporty  apartment,  you  and  I  and 
Alec,  who  is  at  me  elbow  as  I  write.  I  don't  know  what  I'm 
going  to  do  but  I  have  a  vague  dream  of  going  into  politics. 
Why  is  it  that  the  pick  of  the  young  Englishmen  from  Oxford 
and  Cambridge  go  into  politics  and  in  the  U.  S.  A.  we  leave  it 
to  the  muckers? — raised  hi  the  ward,  educated  in  the  assembly 
and  sent  to  Congress,  fat-paunched  bundles  of  corruption,  de- 
void of  "both  ideas  and  ideals"  as  the  debaters  used  to  say. 
Even  forty  years  ago  we  had  good  men  in  politics,  but  we,  we 
are  brought  up  to  pile  up  a  million  and  "show  what  we  are 
made  of."  Sometimes  I  wish  I'd  been  an  Englishman;  American 
life  is  so  damned  dumb  and  stupid  and  healthy. 

Since  poor  Beatrice  died  I'll  probably  have  a  little  money, 
but  very  darn  little.  I  can  forgive  mother  almost  everything 
except  the  fact  that  in  a  sudden  burst  of  religiosity  toward  the 
end,  she  left  half  of  what  remained  to  be  spent  in  stained-glass 
windows  and  seminary  endowments.  Mr.  Barton,  my  lawyer, 
writes  me  that  my  thousands  are  mostly  in  street  railways 
and  that  the  said  Street  R.R.s  are  losing  money  because  of 
the  five-cent  fares.  Imagine  a  salary  list  that  gives  $350  a 
month  to  a  man  that  can't  read  and  write ! — yet  I  believe  in  it, 
even  though  I've  seen  what  was  once  a  sizable  fortune  melt 
away  between  speculation,  extravagance,  the  democratic  ad- 
ministration, and  the  income  tax— modern,  that's  me  all  over, 
Mabel. 

At  any  rate  we'll  have  really  knock-out  rooms — you  can  get 
a  job  on  some  fashion  magazine,  and  Alec  can  go  into  the  Zinc 
Company  or  whatever  it  is  that  his  people  own — he's  looking 
over  my  shoulder  and  he  says  it's  a  brass  company,  but  I  don't 
think  it  matters  much,  do  you?  There's  probably  as  much  cor- 
ruption hi  zinc-made  money  as  brass-made  money.  As  for  the 
well-known  Amory,  he  would  write  immortal  literature  if  he 
were  sure  enough  about  anything  to  risk  telling  any  one  else 
about  it.  There  is  no  more  dangerous  gift  to  posterity  than  a 
few  cleverly  turned  platitudes. 

Tom,  why  don't  you  become  a  Catholic?  Of  course  to  be  a 
good  one  you'd  have  to  give  up  those  violent  intrigues  you  used 


176  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

to  tell  me  about,  but  you'd  write  better  poetry  if  you  were 
linked  up  to  tall  golden  candlesticks  and  long,  even  chants, 
and  even  if  the  American  priests  are  rather  burgeois,  as  Bea- 
trice used  to  say,  still  you  need  only  go  to  the  sporty  churches, 
and  I'll  introduce  you  to  Monsignor  Darcy  who  really  is  a 
wonder. 

Kerry's  death  was  a  blow,  so  was  Jesse's  to  a  certain  extent. 
And  I  have  a  great  curiosity  to  know  what  queer  comer  of  the 
world  has  swallowed  Burne.  Do  you  suppose  he's  in  prison 
under  some  false  name?  I  confess  that  the  war  instead  of 
making  me  orthodox,  which  is  the  correct  reaction,  has  made 
me  a  passionate  agnostic.  The  Catholic  Church  has  had  its 
wings  (dipped  so  often  lately  that  its  part  was  timidly  negligible, 
and  they  haven't  any  good  writers  any  more.  I'm  sick  of 
Chesterton. 

I've  only  discovered  one  soldier  who  passed  through  the 
much-advertised  spiritual  crisis,  like  this  fellow,  Donald  Han- 
key,  and  the  one  I  knew  was  already  studying  for  the  ministry, 
so  he  was  ripe  for  it.  I  honestly  think  that's  all  pretty  much 
rot,  though  it  seemed  to  give  sentimental  comfort  to  those  at 
home;  and  may  make  fathers  and  mothers  appreciate  their 
children.  This  crisis-inspired  religion  is  rather  valueless  and 
fleeting  at  best.  I  think  four  men  have  discovered  Paris  to  one 
that  discovered  God. 

But  us — you  and  me  and  Alec — oh,  we'll  get  a  Jap  butler 
and  dress  for  dinner  and  have  wine  on  the  table  and  lead  a 
contemplative,  emotionless  life  until  we  decide  to  use  machine- 
guns  with  the  property  owners — or  throw  bombs  with  the  Bol- 
shevik. God !  Tom,  I  hope  something  happens.  I'm  restless 
as  the  devil  and  have  a  horror  of  getting  fat  or  falling  in  love 
and  growing  domestic. 

The  place  at  Lake  Geneva  is  now  for  rent  but  when  I  land 
I'm  going  West   to  see  Mr.  Barton  and   get  some   details. 
Write  me  care  of  the  Blackstone,  Chicago. 
S'ever,  dear  Boswell, 

SAMUEL  JOHNSON. 


BOOK   TWO 
THE  EDUCATION  OF  A  PERSONAGE 


CHAPTER  I 
THE  DfiBUTANTE 

The  time  is  February.  The  place  is  a  large,  dainty  bed- 
room in  the  Connage  house  on  Sixty-eighth  Street,  New 
York.  A  girl's  room:  pink  walls  and  curtains  and 
a  pink  bedspread  on  a  cream-colored  bed.  Pink  and 
cream  are  the  motifs  of  the  room,  but  the  only  article 
of  furniture  in  full  mew  is  a  luxurious  dressing-table 
with  a  glass  top  and  a  three-sided  mirror.  On  the  walls 
there  is  an  expensive  print  of  "Cherry  Ripe"  a  few 
polite  dogs  by  Landseer,  and  the  "King  of  the  Black 
Isles"  by  Maxfield  Parrish. 

Great  disorder  consisting  of  the  following  items:  (i)  seven 
or  eight  empty  cardboard  boxes,  with  tissue-paper 
tongues  hanging  panting  from  their  mouths;  (2)  an 
assortment  of  street  dresses  mingled  with  their  sisters 
of  the  evening,  all  upon  the  table,  all  evidently  new; 
(3)  a  roll  of  tulle,  which  has  lost  its  dignity  and  wound 
itself  tortuously  around  everything  in  sight,  and  (4) 
upon  the  two  small  chairs,  a  collection  of  lingerie  that 
beggars  description.  One  would  enjoy  seeing  the  bill 
called  forth  by  the  finery  displayed  and  one  is  pos- 
sessed by  a  desire  to  see  the  princess  for  whose  bene- 
fit—  Look!  There's  some  one!  Disappointment! 
This  is  only  a  maid  hunting  for  something — she  lifts 
a  heap  from  a  chair —  Not  there;  another  heap,  the 
dressing-table,  the  chiffonier  drawers.  She  brings  to 
light  several  beautiful  chemises  and  an  amazing  pajama 
but  this  does  not  satisfy  her — she  goes  out. 

An  indistinguishable  mumble  from  the  next  room. 

179 


i8o          .    THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Now,  we  are  getting  warm.  This  is  Alec's  mother,  Mrs. 
Connage,  ample,  dignified,  rouged  to  the  dowager 
point  and  quite  worn  out.  Her  lips  move  significantly 
as  she  looks  for  IT.  Her  search  is  less  thorough  than 
the  maid's  but  there  is  a  touch  of  fury  in  it,  that  quite 
makes  up  for  its  sketchiness.  She  stumbles  on  the 
tulle  and  her  "damn"  is  quite  audible.  She  re- 
tires, empty-handed. 

More  chatter  outside  and  a  girl's  voice,  a  very  spoiled 
voice,  says:  "Of  all  the  stupid  people " 

After  a  pause  a  third  seeker  enters,  not  she  of  the  spoiled 
voice,  but  a  younger  edition.  This  is  Cecelia  Con- 
nage, sixteen,  pretty,  shrewd,  and  constitutionally  good- 
humored.  She  is  dressed  for  the  evening  in  a  gown 
the  obvious  simplicity  of  which  probably  bores  her. 
She  goes  to  the  nearest  pile,  selects  a  small  pink  gar- 
ment and  holds  it  up  appraisingly. 

CECELIA:  Pink? 
ROSALIND:  (Outside)  Yes! 
CECELIA:  Very  snappy? 
ROSALIND:  Yes! 
CECELIA:  I've  got  it ! 

(She  sees  herself  in  the  mirror  of  the  dressing-table 

and  commences  to  shimmy  enthusiastically.) 
ROSALIND  :  (Outside)  What  are  you  doing — trying  it  on  ? 
(CECELIA  ceases  and  goes  out  carrying  the  garment 

at  the  right  shoulder. 

From  the  other  door,  enters  ALEC  CONNAGE.  He 
looks  around  quickly  and  in  a  huge  voice  shouts: 
Mama !  There  is  a  chorus  of  protest  from  next 
door  and  encouraged  he  starts  toward  it,  but  is 
repelled  by  another  chorus.) 

ALEC:  So  that's  where  you  all  are!    Amory  Elaine  is 
here. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  181 

CECELIA:  (Quickly)  Take  him  down-stairs. 

ALEC:  Oh,  he  is  down-stairs. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Well,  you  can  show  him  where  his 
room  is.  Tell  him  I'm  sorry  that  I  can't  meet  him  now. 

ALEC:  He's  heard  a  lot  about  you  all.  I  wish  you'd 
hurry.  Father's  telling  him  all  about  the  war  and  he's 
restless.  He's  sort  of  temperamental. 

(This  last  suffices  to  draw  CECELIA  into  the  room.) 

CECELIA:  (Seating  herself  high  upon  lingerie)  How 
do  you  mean — temperamental?  You  used  to  say  that 
about  him  in  letters. 

ALEC:  Oh,  he  writes  stuff. 

CECELIA:  Does  he  play  the  piano? 

ALEC:  Don't  think  so. 

CECELIA:  (Speculatively)  Drink? 

ALEC:  Yes — nothing  queer  about  him. 

CECELIA:  Money? 

ALEC:  Good  Lord — ask  him,  he  used  to  have  a  lot, 
and  he's  got  some  income  now. 
(MRS.  CONNAGE  appears) 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Alec,  of  course  we're  glad  to  have 
any  friend  of  yours 

ALEC:  You  certainly  ought  to  meet  Amory. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Of  course,  I  want  to.  But  I  think 
it's  so  childish  of  you  to  leave  a  perfectly  good  home  to 
go  and  live  with  two  other  boys  in  some  impossible 
apartment.  I  hope  it  isn't  in  order  that  you  can  all 
drink  as  much  as  you  want.  (She  pauses)  He'll  be  a 
little  neglected  to-night.  This  is  Rosalind's  week,  you 
see.  When  a  girl  comes  out,  she  needs  all  the  attention.- 

ROSALIND:  (Outside)  Well,  then,  prove  it  by  coming 
here  and  hooking  me. 

(MRS.  CONNAGE  goes.) 

ALEC:  Rosalind  hasn't  changed  a  bit. 

CECELIA:  (In  a  lower  tone]  She's  awfully  spoiled. 


182  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ALEC:  She'll  meet  her  match  to-night. 
CECELIA:  Who — Mr.  Amory  Elaine? 

(ALEC  nods,} 

CECELIA:  Well,  Rosalind  has  still  to  meet  the  man 
she  can't  outdistance.  Honestly,  Alec,  she  treats  men 
terribly.  She  abuses  them  and  cuts  them  and  breaks 
dates  with  them  and  yawns  in  their  faces — and  they 
come  back  for  more. 
ALEC:  They  love  it. 

CECELIA:  They  hate  it.    She's  a — she's  a  sort  of  vam- 
pire, I  think — and  she  can  make  girls  do  what  she  wants 
usually— only  she  hates  girls. 
ALEC:  Personality  runs  in  our  family. 
CECELIA:  (Resignedly)  I  guess  it  ran  out  before  it  got 
tome. 

ALEC:  Does  Rosalind  behave  herself? 
CECELIA:  Not  particularly  well.    Oh,  she's  average — 
smokes  sometimes,  drinks  punch,  frequently  kissed — 
Oh,  yes — common  knowledge — one  of  the  effects  of  the 
war,  you  know. 

(Emerges  MRS.  CONNAGE.) 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Rosalind's  almost  finished  so  I  can 
go  down  and  meet  your  friend. 

(ALEC  and  his  mother  go  out) 

ROSALIND:  (Outside)  Oh,  mother 

CECELIA:  Mother's  gone  down. 

(And  now  ROSALIND  enters.  ROSALIND  is — utterly 
ROSALIND.  She  is  one  of  those  girls  who  need 
never  make  the  slightest  effort  to  have  men  fall  in 
love  with  them.  Two  types  of  men  seldom  do: 
dull  men  are  usually  afraid  of  her  cleverness  and 
intellectual  men  are  usually  afraid  of  her  beauty. 
All  others  are  hers  by  natural  prerogative. 
If  ROSALIND  could  be  spoiled  the  process  would  have 
been  complete  by  this  time,  and  as  a  matter  of 


THE  DEBUTANTE  183 

fact,  her  disposition  is  not  all  it  should  be;  she 
wants  -what  she  wants  when  she  wants  it  and  she 
is  prone  to  make  every  one  around  her  pretty 
miserable  when  she  doesn't  get  it — but  in  the  true 
sense  she  is  not  spoiled.  Her  fresh  enthusiasm^ 
her  will  to  grow  and  learn,  her  endless  faith  in 
the  inexhaustibility  of  romance,  her  courage  and 
fundamental  honesty — these  things  are  not  spoiled. 

There  are  long  periods  when  she  cordially  loathes 
her  whole  family.  She  is  quite  unprincipled; 
her  philosophy  is  carpe  diem  for  herself  and 
laissez  fairefor  others.  She  loves  shocking  stories : 
she  has  that  coarse  streak  that  usually  goes  with 
natures  that  are  both  fine  and  big.  She  wants 
people  to  like  her,  but  if  they  do  not  it  never 
worries  her  or  changes  her. 

She  is  by  no  means  a  model  character. 

The  education  of  all  beautiful  women  is  the  knowl- 
edge of  men.  ROSALIND  had  been  disappointed 
in  man  after  man  as  individuals,  but  she  had 
great  faith  in  man  as  a  sex.  Women  she  detested. 
They  represented  qualities  that  she  felt  and  de- 
spised in  herself — incipient  meanness,  conceit, 
cowardice,  and  petty  dishonesty.  She  once  told  a 
roomful  of  her  mother's  friends  that  the  only  ex- 
cuse for  women  was  the  necessity  for  a  disturb- 
ing element  among  men.  She  danced  excep- 
tionally well,  drew  cleverly  but  hastily,  and  had  a 
startling  facility  with  words,  which  she  used  only 
in  love-letters. 

But  all  criticism  of  ROSALIND  ends  in  her  beauty. 
There  was  that  shade  of  glorious  yellow  hair,  the 
desire  to  imitate  which  supports  the  dye  industry. 
There  was  the  eternal  kissable  mouth,  small, 
slightly  sensual,  and  utterly  disturbing.  There 


184  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

•were  gray  eyes  and  an  unimpeachable  skin  with 
two  spots  of  vanishing  color.  She  was  slender  and 
athletic,  without  underdevelopment,  and  it  was 
a  delight  to  watch  her  move  about  a  room,  walk 
along  a  street,  swing  a  golf  club,  or  turn  a  "cart- 
wheel." 

A  last  qualification — her  vivid,  instant  personality 
escaped  that  conscious,  theatrical  quality  that 
AMORY  had  found  in  ISABELLE.  MONSIGNOR 
DARCY  would  have  been  quite  up  a  tree  whether 
to  call  her  a  personality  or  a  personage.  She 
was  perhaps  the  delicious,  inexpressible,  once-in- 
a-century  blend. 

On  the  night  of  her  debut  she  is,  for  all  her  strange, 
stray  wisdom,  quite  like  a  happy  little  girl.  Her 
mother's  maid  has  just  done  her  hair,  but  she  has 
decided  impatiently  that  she  can  do  a  better  job 
herself.  She  is  too  nervous  just  now  to  stay  in  one 
place.  To  that  we  owe  her  presence  in  this  lit- 
tered room.  She  is  going  to  speak.  ISABELLE'S 
alto  tones  had  been  like  a  violin,  but  if  you  could 
hear  ROSALIND,  you  would  say  her  voice  was 
musical  as  a  waterfall. 

ROSALIND:  Honestly,  there  are  only  two  costumes  in 
the  world  that  I  really  enjoy  being  in —    (Combing  her 
hair  at  the  dressing-table.)    One's  a  hoop  skirt  with  panta- 
loons; the  other's  a  one-piece  bathing-suit.    I'm  quite 
charming  in  both  of  them. 
CECELIA:  Glad  you're  coming  out? 
ROSALIND:  Yes;  aren't  you? 

CECELIA:  (Cynically)  You're  glad  so  you  can  get 
married  and  live  on  Long  Island  with  the  fast  younger 
married  set.  You  want  life  to  be  a  chain  of  flirtation 
with  a  man  for  every  link. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  185 

ROSALIND:  Want  it  to  be  one !  You  mean  I've  found 
it  one. 

CECELIA:  Ha! 

ROSALIND:  Cecelia,  darling,  you  don't  know  what  a 
trial  it  is  to  be — like  me.  I've  got  to  keep  my  face 
like  steel  in  the  street  to  keep  men  from  winking  at  me. 
If  I  laugh  hard  from  a  front  row  in  the  theatre,  the 
comedian  plays  to  me  for  the  rest  of  the  evening.  If  I 
drop  my  voice,  my  eyes,  my  handkerchief  at  a  dance, 
my  partner  calls  me  up  on  the  'phone  every  day  for  a 
week. 

CECELIA:  It  must  be  an  awful  strain. 

ROSALIND:  The  unfortunate  part  is  that  the  only  men 
who  interest  me  at  all  are  the  totally  ineligible  ones. 
Now — if  I  were  poor  I'd  go  on  the  stage. 

CECELIA:  Yes,  you  might  as  well  get  paid  for  the 
amount  of  acting  you  do. 

ROSALIND:  Sometimes  when  I've  felt  particularly 
radiant  I've  thought,  why  should  this  be  wasted  on  one 
man? 

CECELIA:  Often  when  you're  particularly  sulky,  I've 
wondered  why  it  should  all  be  wasted  on  just  one  family. 
(Getting  up.}  I  think  I'll  go  down  and  meet  Mr.  Amory 
Elaine.  I  like  temperamental  men. 

ROSALIND:  There  aren't  any.  Men  don't  know  how 
to  be  really  angry  or  really  happy — and  the  ones  that 
do,  go  to  pieces. 

CECELIA:  Well,  I'm  glad  I  don't  have  all  your  worries. 
I'm  engaged. 

ROSALIND:  (With  a  scornful  smile)  Engaged?  Why, 
you  little  lunatic !  If  mother  heard  you  talking  like  that 
she'd  send  you  off  to  boarding-school,  where  you  belong. 

CECELIA:  You  won't  tell  her,  though,  because  I  know 
things  I  could  tell — and  you're  too  selfish ! 


i86 

ROSALIND  •  (A  little  annoyed]  Run  along,  little  girl ! 
Who  are  you  engaged  to,  the  iceman?  the  man  that 
keeps  the  candy-store? 

CECELIA:  Cheap  wit — good-by,  darling,  I'll  see  you 
later. 

ROSALIND:  Oh,  be  sure  and  do  that — you're  such  a 
help. 

(Exit  CECELIA.  ROSALIND  finished  her  hair  and 
rises,  humming.  She  goes  up  to  the  mirror  and 
starts  to  dance  in  front  of  it  on  the  soft  carpet. 
She  watches  not  her  feet,  but  her  eyes — never  casu- 
ally but  always  intently,  even  when  she  smiles. 
The  door  suddenly  opens  and  then  slams  behind 
AMORY,  very  cool  and  handsome  as  usual.  He 
melts  into  instant  confusion.) 

HE:  Oh,  I'm  sorry.    I  thought 

SHE:  (Smiling  radiantly)  Oh,  you're  Amory  Elaine, 
aren't  you  ? 

HE:  (Regarding  her  closely)  And  you're  Rosalind? 
SHE:  I'm  going  to  call  you  Amory — oh,  come  in — it's 
all  right — mother'll  be  right  in — (under  her  breath)  un- 
fortunately. 

HE:  (Gazing  around)  This  is  sort  of  a  new  wrinkle  for 
me. 

SHE:  This  is  No  Man's  Land. 
HE:  This  is  where  you — you — (pause) 
SHE:  Yes — all  those  things.    (She  crosses  to  the  bureau.) 
See,  here's  my  rouge — eye  pencils. 
HE:  I  didn't  know  you  were  that  way. 
SHE:  What  did  you  expect? 

HE:  I  thought  you'd  be  sort  of — sort  of — sexless,  you 
know,  swim  and  play  golf. 

SHE:  Oh,  I  do — but  not  in  business  hours. 

HE:  Business? 

SHE:  Six  to  two — strictly. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  187 

HE:  I'd  like  to  have  some  stock  in  the  corporation. 

SHE:  Oh,  it's  not  a  corporation — it's  just  "Rosalind, 
Unlimited."  Fifty-one  shares,  name,  good- will,  and 
everything  goes  at  $25,000  a  year. 

HE:  (Disapprovingly)  Sort  of  a  chilly  proposition. 

SHE:  Well,  Amory,  you  don't  mind— do  you?  When 
I  meet  a  man  that  doesn't  bore  me  to  death  after  two 
weeks,  perhaps  it'll  be  different. 

HE:  Odd,  you  have  the  same  point  of  view  on  men 
that  I  have  on  women. 

SHE:  I'm  not  really  feminine,  you  know — in  my  mind. 

HE:  (Interested)  Go  on. 

SHE:  No,  you — you  go  on — you've  made  me  talk 
about  myself.  That's  against  the  rules. 

HE:  Rules? 

SHE:  My  own  rules — but  you —  Oh,  Amory,  I  hear 
you're  brilliant.  The  family  expects  so  much  of  you. 

HE:  How  encouraging! 

SHE:  Alec  said  you'd  taught  him  to  think.  Did  you? 
I  didn't  believe  any  one  could. 

HE:  No.     I'm  really  quite  dull. 

(He  evidently  doesn't  intend  this  to  be  taken  seri- 
ously.) 

SHE:  Liar. 

HE:  I'm — I'm  religious — I'm  literary.  I've — I've 
even  written  poems. 

•SHE:  Vers  libre — splendid!    (She  declaims.) 

"The  trees  are  green, 
The  birds  are  singing  in  the  trees, 
The  girl  sips  her  poison 
The  bird  flies  away  the  girl  dies." 

HE:  (Laughing)  No,  not  that  kind. 
SHE:  (Suddenly)  I  Like  you. 
HE:  Don't. 


i88  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

SHE:  Modest  too 

HE:  I'm  afraid  of  you.    I'm  always  afraid  of  a  girl — 
until  I've  kissed  her. 

SHE:  (Emphatically)  My  dear  boy,  the  war  is  over. 

HE:  So  I'll  always  be  afraid  of  you. 

SHE:  (Rather  sadly)  I  suppose  you  will. 
(A  slight  hesitation  on  both  their  parts.) 

HE:  (After  due  consideration)  Listen.   This  is  a  fright- 
ful thing  to  ask. 

SHE:  (Knowing  what's  coming)  After  five  minutes. 

HE:  But  will  you — kiss  me?  Or  are  you  afraid? 

SHE:  I'm  never  afraid — but  your  reasons  are  so  poor. 

HE:  Rosalind,  I  really  want  to  kiss  you. 

SHE:  So  do  I. 

(They  kiss —  definitely  and  thoroughly.) 

HE:  (After  a  breathless  second)  Well,  is  your  curiosity 
satisfied? 

SHE:  Is  yours? 

HE:  No,  it's  only  aroused. 
(He  looks  it.) 

SHE:  (Dreamily)  I've  kissed  dozens  of  men.    I  sup- 
pose I'll  kiss  dozens  more. 

HE:  (Abstractedly)  Yes,  I  suppose  you  could — like 
that. 

SHE:  Most  people  like  the  way  I  kiss. 

HE:  (Remembering  himself)  Good  Lord,  yes.    Kiss  me 
once  more,  Rosalind. 

SHE:  No — my  curiosity  is  generally  satisfied  at  one. 

HE  (Discouraged)  Is  that  a  rule? 

SHE:  I  make  rules  to  fit  the  cases. 

HE:  You  and  I  are  somewhat  alike — except  that  I'm 
years  older  in  experience. 

SHE:  How  old  are  you? 

HE:  Almost  twenty- three.    You? 

SHE:  Nineteen — just. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  189 

HE:  I  suppose  you're  the  product  of  a  fashionable 
school. 

SHE:  No — Fm  fairly  raw  material.  I  was  expelled 
from  Spence — I've  forgotten  why. 

HE:  What's  your  general  trend? 

SHE:  Oh,  I'm  bright,  quite  selfish,  emotional  when 
aroused,  fond  of  admiration 

HE:  (Suddenly}  I  don't  want  to  fall  in  love  with 
you 

SHE:  (Raising  her  eyebrows)  Nobody  asked  you  to. 

HE:  (Continuing  coldly)  But  I  probably  will.  I  love 
your  mouth. 

SHE:  Hush !  Please  don't  fall  in  love  with  my  mouth 
— hair,  eyes,  shoulders,  slippers — but  not  my  mouth. 
Everybody  falls  in  love  with  my  mouth. 

HE:  It's  quite  beautiful. 

SHE:  It's  too  small. 

HE:  No  it  isn't — let's  see. 

(He  kisses  her  again  with  the  same  thoroughness.) 

SHE:  (Rather  moved]  Say  something  sweet. 

HE:  (Frightened)  Lord  help  me. 

SHE:  (Drawing  away)  Well,  don't — if  it's  so  hard. 

HE:  Shall  we  pretend?    So  soon? 

SHE:  We  haven't  the  same  standards  of  time  as  other 
people. 

HE:  Already  it's — other  people. 

SHE:  Let's  pretend. 

HE:  No — I  can't — it's  sentiment 

SHE:  You're  not  sentimental? 

HE:  No,  I'm  romantic — a  sentimental  person  thinks 
things  will  last — a  romantic  person  hopes  against  hope 
that  they  won't.  Sentiment  is  emotional. 

SHE:  And  you're  not?  (With  her  eyes  half -dosed.) 
You  probably  flatter  yourself  that  that's  a  superior  at- 
titude. 


ipo  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

HE:  Well — Rosalind,  Rosalind,  don't  argue — kiss  me 
again. 

SHE:  (Quite  chilly  now)  No — I  have  no  desire  to  kiss 
you. 

HE:  (Openly  taken  aback}  You  wanted  to  kiss  me  a 
minute  ago. 

SHE:  This  is  now. 

HE:  I'd  better  go. 

SHE:  I  suppose  so. 

(He  goes  toward  the  door.} 

SHE:  Oh! 

(He  turns} 

SHE:  (Laughing)  Score — Home  Team:  One  hundred 
— Opponents:  Zero. 

(He  starts  back} 

SHE:  (Quickly)  Rain — no  game. 
(He  goes  out.} 

(She  goes  quietly  to  the  chiffonier,  takes  out  a 
cigarette-case  and  hides  it  in  the  side  drawer  of  a 
desk.  Her  mother  enters,  note-book  in  hand} 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Good — I've  been  wanting  to  speak 
to  you  alone  before  we  go  down-stairs. 

ROSALIND  :  Heavens !  you  frighten  me ! 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Rosalind,  you've  been  a  very  ex- 
pensive proposition. 

ROSALIND:  (Resignedly}  Yes. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  And  you  know  your  father  hasn't 
what  he  once  had. 

ROSALIND:  (Making  a  wry  face}  Oh,  please  don't  talk 
about  money. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  You  can't  do  anything  without  it. 
This  is  our  last  year  in  this  house — and  unless  things 
change  Cecelia  won't  have  the  advantages  you've  had. 

ROSALIND:  (Impatiently)  Well — what  is  it? 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  So  I  ask  you  to  please  mind  me  in 


THE  DEBUTANTE  191 

several  things  I've  put  down  in  my  note-book.  The  first 
one  is:  don't  disappear  with  young  men.  There  may  be 
a  time  when  it's  valuable,  but  at  present  I  want  you  on 
the  dance-floor  where  I  can  find  you.  There  are  certain 
men  I  want  to  have  you  meet  and  I  don't  like  finding 
you  in  some  corner  of  the  conservatory  exchanging  silli- 
ness with  any  one — or  listening  to  it. 

ROSALIND:  (Sarcastically)  Yes,  listening  to  it  is  bet- 
ter. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  And  don't  waste  a  lot  of  time  with 
the  college  set — little  boys  nineteen  and  twenty  years 
old.  I  don't  mind  a  prom  or  a  football  game,  but  stay- 
ing away  from  advantageous  parties  to  eat  in  little  cafes 
down-town  with  Tom,  Dick,  and  Harry 

ROSALIND:  (Offering  her  code,  which  is,  in  its  way, 
quite  as  high  as  her  mother's)  Mother,  it's  done — you 
can't  run  everything  now  the  way  you  did  in  the  early 
nineties. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  (Paying  no  attention)  There  are  sev- 
eral bachelor  friends  of  your  father's  that  I  want  you  to 
meet  to-night — youngish  men. 

ROSALIND:  (Nodding  wisely)  About  forty-five? 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  (Sharply)  Why  not? 

ROSALIND  :  Oh,  quite  all  right — they  know  lif e  and  are 
so  adorably  tired  looking  (shakes  her  head) — but  they  will 
dance. 

•  MRS.  CONNAGE:  I  haven't  met  Mr.  Elaine — but  I 
don't  think  you'll  care  for  him.  He  doesn't  sound  like 
a  money-maker. 

ROSALIND:  Mother,  I  never  think  about  money. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  You  never  keep  it  long  enough  to 
think  about  it 

ROSALIND  :  (Sighs)  Yes,  I  suppose  some  day  I'll  marry 
a  ton  of  it — out  of  sheer  boredom. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  (Referring  to  note-book)  I  had  a  wire 


i92  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

from  Hartford.  Dawson  Ryder  is  coming  up.  Now 
there's  a  young  man  I  like,  and  he's  floating  in  money. 
It  seems  to  me  that  since  you  seem  tired  of  Howard 
Gillespie  you  might  give  Mr.  Ryder  some  encourage- 
ment. This  is  the  third  time  he's  been  up  in  a  month. 

ROSALIND:  How  did  you  know  I  was  tired  of  Howard 
Gillespie? 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  The  poor  boy  looks  so  miserable 
every  time  he  comes. 

ROSALIND:  That  was  one  of  those  romantic,  pre- 
battle  affairs.    They're  all  wrong. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  (Her  say  said)  At  any  rate,  make  us 
proud  of  you  to-night. 
ROSALIND:  Don't  you  think  I'm  beautiful? 
MRS.  CONNAGE:  You  know  you  are. 

(From  down-stairs  is  heard  the  moan  of  a  violin 
being  tuned,  the  roll  of  a  drum.    MBS.  CONNAGE 
turns  quickly  to  her  daughter.) 
MRS.  CONNAGE:  Come! 
ROSALIND:  One  minute ! 

(Her  mother  leaves.  ROSALIND  goes  to  the  glass 
where  she  gazes  at  herself  with  great  satisfaction. 
She  kisses  her  hand  and  touches  her  mirrored 
mouth  with  it.  Then  she  turns  out  the  lights  and 
leaves  the  room.  Silence  for  a  moment.  A  few 
chords  from  the  piano,  the  discreet  patter  of  faint 
drums,  the  rustle  of  new  silk,  all  blend  on  the 
staircase  outside  and  drift  in  through  the  partly 
opened  door.  Bundled  figures  pass  in  the 
lighted  hall.  The  laughter  heard  below  becomes 
doubled  and  multiplied.  Then  some  one  comes 
in,  closes  the  door,  and  switches  on  the  lights. 
It  is  CECELIA.  She  goes  to  tfie  chiffonier,  looks 
in  the  drawers,  hesitates — then  to  the  desk  whence 
she  takes  the  cigarette-case  and  extracts  one.  She 


THE  DEBUTANTE  193 

lights  it  and  then,  puffing  and  blowing,  -walks 
toward  the  mirror.) 

CECELIA:  (In  tremendously  sophisticated  accents)  Oh, 
yes,  coming  out  is  such  a  farce  nowadays,  you  know. 
One  really  plays  around  so  much  before  one  is  seven- 
teen, that  it's  positively  anticlimax.  (Shaking  hands 
with  a  visionary  middle-aged  nobleman.)  Yes,  your 
grace — I  b'lieve  I've  heard  my  sister  speak  of  you. 
Have  a  puff — they're  very  good.  They're — they're 
Coronas.  You  don't  smoke?  What  a  pity!  The  king 
doesn't  allow  it,  I  suppose.  Yes,  I'll  dance. 

(So  she  dances  around  the  room  to  a  tune  from 
down-stairs,  her  arms  outstretched  to  an  imagi- 
nary partner,  the  cigarette  waving  in  her  hand.) 

SEVERAL  HOURS  LATER 

The  corner  of  a  den  down-stairs,  filled  by  a  very  comfort- 
able leather  lounge.    A  small  light  is  on  each  side 
above,  and  in  the  middle,  over  the  couch  hangs  a  paint- 
ing of  a  very  old,  very  dignified  gentleman,  period 
1860.    Outside  the  music  is  heard  in  a  fox-trot. 
ROSALIND  is  seated  on  the  lounge  and  on  her  left  is  HOWARD 
GTT.T.KSPIE,  a  vapid  youth  of  about  twenty-four.    He 
is  obviously  very  unhappy,  and  she  is  quite  bored. 
GILLESPIE:  (Feebly)  What  do  you  mean  I've  changed. 
I  feel  the  same  toward  you. 
ROSALIND:  But  you  don't  look  the  same  to  me. 
GILLESPIE:  Three  weeks  ago  you  used  to  say  that  you 
liked  me  because  I  was  so  blas6,  so  indifferent — I  still  am. 
ROSALIND:  But  not  about  me.    I  used  to  like  you  be- 
cause you  had  brown  eyes  and  thin  legs. 

GILLESPIE:  (Helplessly)  They're  still  thin  and  brown. 
You're  a  vampire,  that's  all. 
ROSALIND:  The  only  thing  I  know  about  vamping  is 


i94  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

what's  on  the  piano  score.  What  confuses  men  is  that 
I'm  perfectly  natural.  I  used  to  think  you  were  never 
jealous.  Now  you  follow  me  with  your  eyes  wherever 
I  go. 

GILLESPIE:  I  love  you. 

ROSALIND:  (Coldly)  I  know  it. 

GILLESPIE:  And  you  haven't  kissed  me  for  two  weeks. 
I  had  an  idea  that  after  a  girl  was  kissed  she  was — was — • 
won. 

ROSALIND:  Those  days  are  over.  I  have  to  be  won  all 
over  again  every  time  you  see  me. 

GILLESPIE:  Are  you  serious? 

ROSALIND:  About  as  usual.    There  used  to  be  two 

i  kinds  of  kisses:  First  when  girls  were  kissed  and  de- 

jserted;  second,  when  they  were  engaged.    Now  there's 

;a  third  kind,  where  the  man  is  kissed  and  deserted.    If 

Mr.  Jones  of  the  nineties  bragged  he'd  kissed  a  girl, 

every  one  knew  he  was  through  with  her.    If  Mr.  Jones 

of  1919  brags  the  same  every  one  knows  it's  because  he 

can't  kiss  her  any  more.    Given  a  decent  start  any  girl 

can  beat  a  man  nowadays. 

GILLESPIE:  Then  why  do  you  play  with  men? 

ROSALIND:  (Leaning  forward  confidentially}  For  that 
first  moment,  when  he's  interested.  There  is  a  moment — 
Oh,  just  before  the  first  kiss,  a  whispered  word — some- 
thing that  makes  it  worth  while. 

GILLESPIE:  And  then? 

ROSALIND:  Then  after  that  you  make  him  talk  about 
himself.  Pretty  soon  he  thinks  of  nothing  but  being 
alone  with  you — he  sulks,  he  won't  fight,  he  doesn't  want 
to  play—  Victory ! 

(Enter  DAWSON  RYDER,  twenty-six,  handsome, 
wealthy,  faithful  to  his  own,  a  bore  perhaps,  but 
steady  and  sure  of  success,) 

RYDER:  I  believe  this  is  my  dance,  Rosalind. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  195 

ROSALIND:  Well,  Dawson,  so  you  recognize  me.  Now 
I  know  I  haven't  got  too  much  paint  on.  Mr.  Ryder, 
this  is  Mr.  Gillespie. 

(They  shake  hands  and  GILLESPIE  leaves,  tremen- 
dously downcast.}  * 

RYDER:  Your  party  is  certainly  a  success. 

ROSALIND:  Is  it —  I  haven't  seen  it  lately.  I'm 
weary —  Do  you  mind  sitting  out  a  minute? 

RYDER:  Mind — I'm  delighted.  You  know  I  loathe 
this  "rushing"  idea.  See  a  girl  yesterday,  to-day,  to- 
morrow. 

ROSALIND:  Dawson! 

RYDER:  What? 

ROSALIND:  I  wonder  if  you  know  you  love  me. 

RYDER:  (Startled)  What —  Oh — you  know  you're  re- 
markable ! 

ROSALIND:  Because  you  know  I'm  an  awful  proposi- 
tion. Any  one  who  marries  me  will  have  his  hands  full. 
I'm  mean — mighty  mean. 

RYDER:  Oh,  I  wouldn't  say  that. 

ROSALIND:  Oh,  yes,  I  am — especially  to  the  people 
nearest  to  me.  (She  rises.)  Come,  let's  go.  I've 
changed  my  mind  and  I  want  to  dance.  Mother  is  prob- 
ably having  a  fit. 

(Exeunt.    Enter  ALEC  and  CECELIA.) 

CECELIA:  Just  my  luck  to  get  my  own  brother  for  an 
intermission. 

ALEC:  (Gloomily)  I'll  go  if  you  want  me  to. 

CECELIA:  Good  heavens,  no — with  whom  would  I  be- 
gin the  next  dance?  (Sighs.)  There's  no  color  in  a 
dance  since  the  French  officers  went  back. 

ALEC:  (Thoughtfully)  I  don't  want  Amory  to  fall  in 
love  with  Rosalind. 

CECELIA:  Why,  I  had  an  idea  that  that  was  just  what 
you  did  want. 


196  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ALEC:  I  did,  but  since  seeing  these  girls — I  don't 
know.  I'm  awfully  attached  to  Amory.  He's  sensitive 
and  I  don't  want  him  to  break  his  heart  over  somebody 
who  doesn't  care  about  him. 

CECELIA:  He's  very  good  looking. 

ALEC:  (Still  thoughtfully)  She  won't  marry  him,  but  a 
girl  doesn't  have  to  marry  a  man  to  break  his  heart. 

CECELIA:  What  does  it?    I  wish  I  knew  the  secret. 

ALEC:  Why,  you  cold-blooded  little  kitty.    It's  lucky 
for  some  that  the  Lord  gave  you  a  pug  nose. 
(Enter  MRS.  CONNAGE.) 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Where  on  earth  is  Rosalind? 

ALEC:  (Brilliantly)  Of  course  you've  come  to  the  best 
people  to  find  out.  She'd  naturally  be  with  us. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Her  father  has  marshalled  eight 
bachelor  millionaires  to  meet  her. 

ALEC:  You  might  form  a  squad  and  march  through 
the  halls. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  I'm  perfectly  serious — for  all  I  know 
she  may  be  at  the  Cocoanut  Grove  with  some  football 
player  on  the  night  of  her  debut.  You  look  left  and 

ALEC:  (Flippantly)  Hadn't  you  better  send  the  butler 
through  the  cellar? 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  (Perfectly  serious)  Oh,  you  don't 
think  she'd  be  there? 

CECELIA:  He's  only  joking,  mother. 

ALEC:  Mother  had  a  picture  of  her  tapping  a  keg  of 
beer  with  some  high  hurdler. 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Let's  look  right  away. 

(They  go  out.   ROSALIND  comes  in  with  GILLESPIE.) 

GILLESPIE:  Rosalind —    Once  more  I  ask  you.  Don't 
you  care  a  blessed  thing  about  me? 
(AMORY  walks  in  briskly.) 

AMORY:  My  dance. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  197 

ROSALIND:  Mr.  Gillespie,  this  is  Mr.  Elaine. 

GILLESPIE:  I've  met  Mr.  Elaine.  From  Lake  Geneva, 
aren't  you  ? 

AMORY:  Yes. 

GILLESPIE:  (Desperately}  Fve  been  there.  It's  in  the 
—the  Middle  West,  isn't  it? 

AMORY:  (Spicily)  Approximately.  But  I  always  felt 
that  I'd  rather  be  provincial  hot-tamale  than  soup  with- 
out seasoning. 

GILLESPIE:  What! 

AMORY:  Oh,  no  ofiense. 

(GILLESPIE  bows  and  leaves.) 

ROSALIND:  He's  too  much  people. 

AMORY:  I  was  in  love  with  a  people  once. 

ROSALIND:  So? 

AMORY:  Oh,  yes — her  name  was  Isabelle — nothing  at 
all  to  her  except  what  I  read  into  her. 

ROSALIND:  What  happened? 

AMORY:  Finally  I  convinced  her  that  she  was  smarter 
than  I  was — then  she  threw  me  over.  Said  I  was  crit- 
ical and  impractical,  you  know. 

ROSALIND:  What  do  you  mean  impractical? 

AMORY:  Oh — drive  a  car,  but  can't  change  a  tire. 

ROSALIND:  What  are  you  going  to  do? 

AMORY:  Can't  say — run  for  President,  write 

ROSALIND:  Greenwich  Village? 

AMORY:  Good  heavens,  no — I  said  write — not  drink. 

ROSALIND:  I  like  business  men.  Clever  men  are 
usually  so  homely. 

AMORY:  I  feel  as  if  I'd  known  you  for  ages. 

ROSALIND:  Oh,  are  you  going  to  commence  the 
"pyramid"  story? 

AMORY:  No — I  was  going  to  make  it  French.  I  was 
Louis  XIV  and  you  were  one  of  my — my —  (Changing 
his  tone.)  Suppose — we  fell  in  love. 


198  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ROSALIND:  I've  suggested  pretending. 
AMORY:  If  we  did  it  would  be  very  big. 
ROSALIND:  Why? 

AMORY:  Because  selfish  people  are  in  a  way  terribly 
capable  of  great  loves. 
ROSALIND:  (Turning  her  lips  up)  Pretend. 

(Very  deliberately  they  kiss.) 

AMORY:  I  can't  say  sweet  things.    But  you  are  beau- 
tiful. 

ROSALIND:  Not  that. 
AMORY:  What  then? 

ROSALIND:  (Sadly)  Oh,  nothing — only  I  want  senti- 
ment, real  sentiment — and  I  never  find  it. 

AMORY:  I  never  find  anything  else  in  the  world — and 
I  loathe  it. 

ROSALIND:  It's  so  hard  to  find  a  male  to  gratify  one's 
artistic  taste. 

(Some  one  has  opened  a  door  and  the  music  of  a 

waltz  surges  into  the  room.    ROSALIND  rises.) 
ROSALIND:  Listen !  they're  playing  "Kiss  Me  Again." 

(He  looks  at  her.) 
AMORY:  Well? 
ROSALIND:  Well? 

AMORY:  (Softly — the  battle  lost)  I  love  you. 
ROSALIND:  I  love  you — now. 

(They  kiss.) 
*     AMORY:  Oh,  God,  what  have  I  done? 

ROSALIND:  Nothing.    Oh,  don't  talk.    Kiss  me  again. 
/    AMORY:  I  don't  know  why  or  how,  but  I  love  you— 
from  the  moment  I  saw  you. 
ROSALIND:  Me  too — I — I — oh,  to-njght's  to-night. 
(Her  brother  strolls  in,  starts  and  then  in  a  loud  voice 

says:  "Oh,  excuse  me,"  and  goes) 
ROSALIND:  (Her  lips  scarcely  stirring)  Don't  let  me 
go — I  don't  care  who  knows  what  I  do. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  199 

AMORY:  Say  it! 

ROSALIND:  I  love  you — now.  (They  part.}  Oh — I 
am  very  youthful,  thank  God — and  rather  beautiful, 
thank  God — and  happy,  thank  God,  thank  God — • 
(She  pauses  and  then,  in  an  odd  burst  of  prophecy,  adds) 
Poor  Amory ! 

(He  kisses  her  again.)  • 

KISMET 

Within  two  weeks  Amory  and  Rosalind  were  deeply 
and  passionately  in  love.  The  critical  qualities  which 
had  spoiled  for  each  of  them  a  dozen  romances  were 
dulled  by  the  great  wave  of  emotion  that  washed  over 
them. 

"It  may  be  an  insane  love-affair,"  she  told  her  anxious 
mother,  "but  it's  not  inane." 

The  wave  swept  Amory  into  an  advertising  agency 
early  in  March,  where  he  alternated  between  astonish- 
ing bursts  of  rather  exceptional  work  and  wild  dreams  of 
becoming  suddenly  rich  and  touring  Italy  with  Rosalind. 

They  were  together  constantly,  for  lunch,  for  dinner, 
and  nearly  every  evening — always  in  a  sort  of  breathless 
hush,  as  if  they  feared  that  any  minute  the  spell  would 
break  and  drop  them  out  of  this  paradise  of  rose  and 
flame.  But  the  spell  became  a  trance,  seemed  to  increase 
from  day  to  day;  they  began  to  talk  of  marrying  in 
July — in  June.  All  life  was  transmitted  into  terms  of 
their  love,  all  experience,  all  desires,  all  ambitions,  were 
nullified — their  senses  of  humor  crawled  into  corners  to 
sleep;  their  former  love-affairs  seemed  faintly  laughable 
and  scarcely  regretted  juvenalia. 

For  the  second  time  in  his  life  Amory  had  had  a 
complete  bouleversement  and  was  hurrying  into  line 
with  his  generation. 


200  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

A  LITTLE  INTERLUDE 

Amory  wandered  slowly  up  the  avenue  and  thought 
of  the  night  as  inevitably  his — the  pageantry  and  car- 
nival of  rich  dusk  and  dim  streets  ...  it  seemed  that 
he  had  closed  the  book  of  fading  harmonies  at  .last  and 
stepped  into  the  sensuous  vibrant  walks  of  life.  Every- 
where these  countless  lights,  this  promise  of  a  night  of 
streets  and  singing — he  moved  in  a  half-dream  through 
the  crowd  as  if  expecting  to  meet  Rosalind  hurrying 
toward  him  with  eager  feet  from  every  corner.  .  .  . 
How  the  unforgetable  faces  of  dusk  would  blend  to 
her,  the  myriad  footsteps,  a  thousand  overtures,  would 
blend  to  her  footsteps;  and  there  would  be  more  drunken- 
ness than  wine  in  the  softness  of  her  eyes  on  his.  Even 
his  dreams  now  were  faint  violins  drifting  like  summer 
sounds  upon  the  summer  air. 

The  room  was  in  darkness  except  for  the  faint  glow  of 
Tom's  cigarette  where  he  lounged  by  the  open  window. 
As  the  door  shut  behind  him,  Amory  stood  a  moment 
with  his  back  against  it. 

"Hello,  Benvenuto  Elaine.  How  went  the  advertising 
business  to-day?" 

Amory  sprawled  on  a  couch. 

"I  loathed  it  as  usual ! "  The  momentary  vision  of  the 
bustling  agency  was  displaced  quickly  by  another  picture. 

"  My  God !    She's  wonderful ! " 

Tom  sighed. 

"I  can't  tell  you,"  repeated  Amory,  "just  how  won- 
derful she  is.  I  don't  want  you  to  know.  I  don't  want 
any  one  to  know." 

Another  sigh  came  from  the  window — quite  a  re- 
signed sigh. 

"She's  life  and  hope  and  happiness,  my  whole  world 
now." 


THE  DEBUTANTE  201 

He  felt  the  quiver  of  a  tear  on  his  eyelid. 
"Oh,  Golly,  Tom!" 

BITTER  SWEET 

"Sit  like  we  do,"  she  whispered. 

He  sat  in  the  big  chair  and  held  out  his  arms  so  that 
she  could  nestle  inside  them. 

"I  knew  you'd  come  to-night,"  she  said  softly,  "like 
summer,  just  when  I  needed  you  most  .  .  .  darling 
.  .  .  darling  ..." 

His  lips  moved  lazily  over  her  face. 

"You  taste  so  good,"  he  sighed. 

"How  do  you  mean,  lover?" 

"Oh,,  just  sweet,  just  sweet  .  .  ."he  held  her  closer. 

"Amory,"  she  whispered,  "when  you're  ready  for  me 
I'll  marry  you." 

"We  won't  have  much  at  first." 

"Don't!"  she  cried.  "It  hurts  when  you  reproach 
yourself  for  what  you  can't  give  me.  I've^got  your  pre- 
cious self — and  that's  enough  for  me." 

"Tell  me  .  .  ." 

"You  know,  don't  you?    Oh,  you  know." 

"Yes,  but  I  want  to  hear  you  say  it." 

"I  love  you,  Amory,  with  all  my  heart.1* 

"Always,  will  you?" 
."All  my  life—    Oh,  Amory " 

"What?" 

"I  want  to  belong  to  you.  I  want  your  people  to  be 
my  people.  I  want  to  have  your  babies." 

"But  I  haven't  any  people." 

"Don't  laugh  at  me,  Amory.    Just  kiss  me." 

"I'll  do  what  you  want,"  he  said. 

"No,  I'll  do  what  you  want.  We're  you — not  me. 
Oh,  you're  so  much  a  part,  so  much  all  of  me  ..." 


202  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

He  closed  his  eyes. 

"I'm  so  happy  that  I'm  frightened.  Wouldn't  it  be 
awful  if  this  was — was  the  high  point?  ..." 

She  looked  at  him  dreamily. 

"Beauty  and  love  pass,  I  know.  .  .  .  Oh,  there's 
sadness,  too.  I  suppose  all  great  happiness  is  a  little 
sad.  Beauty  means  the  scent  of  roses  and  then  the 
death  of  roses " 

"Beauty  means  the  agony  of  sacrifice  and  the  end  of 
agony.  ..." 

"And,  Amory,  we're  beautiful,  I  know.  I'm  sure  God 
loves  us " 

"He  loves  you.  You're  his  most  precious  posses- 
sion." 

"I'm  not  his,  I'm  yours.  Amory,  I  belong  to  you. 
For  the  first  time  I  regret  all  the  other  kisses;  now  I 
know  how  much  a  kiss  can  mean." 

Then  they  would  smoke  and  he  would  tell  her  about 
his  day  at  the  office — and  where  they  might  live.  Some- 
times, when  he  was  particularly  loquacious,  she  went  to 
sleep  in  his  arms,  but  he  loved  that  Rosalind — all 
Rosalinds  as  he  had  never  in  the  world  loved  any  one 
else.  Intangibly  fleeting,  unrememberable  hours. 

AQUATIC  INCIDENT 

One  day  Amory  and  Howard  Gillespie  meeting  by 
accident  down-town  took  lunch  together,  and  Amory 
heard  a  story  that  deKghted  him.  Gillespie  after  several 
cocktails  was  in  a  talkative  mood;  he  began  by  telling 
Amory  that  he  was  sure  Rosalind  was  slightly  eccentric. 

He  had  gone  with  her  on  a  swimming  party  up  in 
Westchester  County,  and  some  one  mentioned  that  An- 
nette Kellerman  had  been  there  one  day  on  a  visit 
and  had  dived  from  the  top  of  a  rickety,  thirty-foot 


THE  DEBUTANTE  203 

summer-house.  Immediately  Rosalind  insisted  that 
Howard  should  climb  up  with  her  to  see  what  it  looked 
like. 

A  minute  later,  as  he  sat  and  dangled  his  feet  on  the 
edge,  a  form  shot  by  him;  Rosalind,  her  arms  spread  in 
a  beautiful  swan  dive,  had  sailed  through  the  air  into 
the  clear  water. 

"Of  course  7  had  to  go,  after  that — and  I  nearly  killed 
myself.  I  thought  I  was  pretty  good  to  even  try  it. 
Nobody  else  in  the  party  tried  it.  Well,  afterward 
Rosalind  had  the  nerve  to  ask  me  why  I  stooped  over 
when  I  dove.  'It  didn't  make  it  any  easier,'  she  said, 
'it  just  took  all  the  courage  out  of  it.'  I  ask  you,  what 
can  a  man  do  with  a  girl  like  that  ?  Unnecessary,  I  call 
it." 

Gillespie  failed  to  understand  why  Amory  was  smil- 
ing delightedly  all  through  lunch.  He  thought  perhaps 
he  was  one  of  these  hollow  optimists. 

FIVE  WEEKS  LATER 

i 
Again  the  library  of  the  Connage  house.    ROSALIND  is 

alone,  sitting  on  the  lounge  staring  very  moodily  and 
unhappily  at  nothing.    She  has  changed  perceptibly — 
she  is  a  trifle  thinner  for  one  thing;  the  light  in  her 
eyes  is  not  so  bright;  she  looks  easily  a  year  older. 
Her  mother  comes  in,  muffled  in  an  opera-cloak.     She 

takes  in  ROSALIND  with  a  nervous  glance. 
MRS.  CONNAGE:  Who  is  coming  to-night? 

(ROSALIND  fails  to  hear  her,  at  least  takes  no 

notice?) 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Alec  is  coming  up  to  take  me  to  this 
Barrie  play,  "Et  tu,  Brutus."  (She  perceives  that  she  is 
talking  to  tierself.)  Rosalind !  I  asked  you  who  is  com- 
ing to-night? 


204  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ROSALIND:  (Starting)  Oh — what — oh — Amory 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  (Sarcastically)  You  have  so  many 
admirers  lately  that  I  couldn't  imagine  which  one. 
(ROSALIND  doesn't  answer.)  Dawson  Ryder  is  more  pa- 
tient than  I  thought  he'd  be.  You  haven't  given  him 
an  evening  this  week. 
ROSALIND:  (With  a  very  weary  expression  that  is  quite 

new  to  her  face.)    Mother — please 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Oh,  /  won't  interfere.  You've  al- 
ready wasted  over  two  months  on  a  theoretical  genius 
who  hasn't  a  penny  to  his  name,  but  go  ahead,  waste 
your  life  on  him.  7  won't  interfere. 

ROSALIND:  (As  if  repeating  a  tiresome  lesson)  You 
know  he  has  a  little  income — and  you  know  he's  earning 

thirty-five  dollars  a  week  in  advertising 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  And  it  wouldn't  buy  your  clothes. 
(She  pauses  but  ROSALIND  makes  no  reply.)  I  have  your 
best  interests  at  heart  when  I  tell  you  not  to  take  a  step 
you'll  spend  your  days  regretting.  It's  not  as  if  your 
father  could  help  you.  Things  have  been  hard  for  him 
lately  and  he's  an  old  man.  You'd  be  dependent  abso- 
lutely on  a  dreamer,  a  nice,  well-born  boy,  but  a  dreamer 
— merely  clever.  (She  implies  that  this  quality  in  itself  is 
rather  vicious) 

ROSALIND:  For  heaven's  sake,  mother 

(A  maid  appears,  announces  Mr.  Elaine  who  fol- 
lows immediately.  AMORY'S  friends  have  been 
telling  him  for  ten  days  that  he  "looks  like  the 
wrath  of  God"  and  he  does.  As  a  matter  of  fact 
he  has  not  been  able  to  eat  a  mouthful  in  the  last 
thirty-six  hours) 

AMORY:  Good  evening,  Mrs.  Connage. 
MRS.  CONNAGE:  (Not  unkindly)  Good  evening,  Amory. 
(AMORY   and   ROSALIND    exchange   glances — and 
ALEC  comes  in.    ALEC'S  attitude  throughout  has 


THE   DEBUTANTE  205 

been  neutral.    He  believes  in  his  heart  that  the 
marriage    would   make   AMORY   mediocre   and 
ROSALIND  miserable,  but  he  feels  a  great  sym- 
pathy for  both  of  them.) 
ALEC:  Hi,  Amory ! 

AMORY:  Hi,  Alec!  Tom  said  he'd  meet  you  at  the 
theatre. 

ALEC:  Yeah,  just  saw  him.  How's  the  advertising 
to-day?  Write  some  brilliant  copy? 

AMORY:  Oh,  it's  about  the  same.  I  got  a  raise — 
(Every  one  looks  at  him  rather  eagerly) — of  two  dollars  a 
week.  (General  collapse.) 

MRS.  CONNAGE:  Come,  Alec,  I  hear  the  car. 

(A  good  night,  rather  chilly  in  sections.   After  MRS. 

CONNAGE  and  ALEC  go  out  there  is  a  pause. 

ROSALIND  still  stares  moodily  at  the  fireplace. 

AMORY  goes  to  her  and  puts  his  arm  around  her.) 

AMORY:  Darling  girl. 

(They  kiss.  Another  pause  and  then  she  seizes  his 
hand,  covers  it  with  kisses  and  holds  it  to  her 
breast.) 

ROSALIND:  (Sadly)  I  love  your  hands,  more  than  any- 
thing. I  see  them  often  when  you're  away  from  me — so 
tired;  I  know  every  line  of  them.  Dear  hands! 

(Their  eyes  meet  for  a  second  and  then  she  begins  to 

cry — a  tearless  sobbing.) 
'  AMORY:  Rosalind ! 

ROSALIND  :  Oh,  we're  so  darned  pitiful ! 
AMORY:  Rosalind! 
ROSALIND  :  Oh,  I  want  to  die ! 

AMORY:  Rosalind,  another  night  of  this  and  I'll  go  to 
pieces.  You've  been  this  way  four  days  now.  You've 
got  to  be  more  encouraging  or  I  can't  work  or  eat  or 
sleep.  (He  looks  around  helplessly  as  if  searching  for  new 
"words  to  clothe  an  old,  shop-worn  phrase.)  We'll  have  to 


206  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

make  a  start.  I  like  having  to  make  a  start  together. 
(His  forced  hopefulness  fades  as  he  sees  her  unresponsive.} 
What's  the  matter?  (He  gets  up  suddenly  and  starts  to 
pace  the  floor.}  It's  Dawson  Ryder,  that's  what  it  is. 
He's  been  working  on  your  nerves.  You've  been  with 
him  every  afternoon  for  a  week.  People  come  and  tell 
me  they've  seen  you  together,  and  I  have  to  smile  and 
nod  and  pretend  it  hasn't  the  slightest  significance  for 
me.  And  you  won't  tell  me  anything  as  it  develops. 

ROSALIND:  Amory,  if  you  don't  sit  down  I'll  scream. 

AMORY:  (Sitting  down  suddenly  beside  her}  Oh,  Lord. 

ROSALIND:  (Taking  his  hand  gently}  You  know  I  love 
you,  don't  you? 

AMORY:  Yes. 

ROSALIND:  You  know  I'll  always  love  you 

AMORY:  Don't  talk  that  way;  you  frighten  me.  It 
sounds  as  if  we  weren't  going  to  have  each  other.  (She 
cries  a  little  and  rising  from  the  couch  goes  to  the  armchair.} 
I've  felt  all  afternoon  that  things  were  worse.  I  nearly 
went  wild  down  at  the  office — couldn't  write  a. line. 
Tell  me  everything. 

ROSALIND:  There's  nothing  to  tell,  I  say.  I'm  just 
nervous. 

AMORY:  Rosalind,  you're  playing  with  the  idea  of 
marrying  Dawson  Ryder. 

ROSALIND:  (After  a  pause}  He's  been  asking  me  to  all 
day. 

AMORY:  Well,  he's  got  his  nerve! 

ROSALIND:  (After  another  pause}  I  like  him. 

AMORY:  Don't  say  that.    It  hurts  me. 

ROSALIND:  Don't  be  a  silly  idiot.  You  know  you're 
the  only  man  I've  ever  loved,  ever  will  love. 

AMORY:  (Quickly)  Rosalind,  let's  get  married — next 
week. 

ROSALIND:  We  can't. 


THE  3EBUTANTE  207 

AMORY:  Why  not? 

ROSALIND:  Oh,  we  can't.  I'd  be  your  squaw — in  some 
horrible  place. 

AMORY:  We'll  have  two  hundred  and  seventy-five 
dollars  a  month  all  told. 

ROSALIND:  Darling,  I  don't  even  do  my  own  hair, 
usually. 

AMORY:  I'll  do  it  for  you. 

ROSALIND:  (Between  a  laugh  and  a  sob}  Thanks. 

AMORY:  Rosalind,  you  can't  be  thinking  of  marrying 
some  one  else.  Tell  me !  You  leave  me  in  the  dark.  I 
can  help  you  fight  it  out  if  you'll  only  tell  me. 

ROSALIND:  It's  just — us.  We're  pitiful,  that's  all. 
The  very  qualities  I  love  you  for  are  the  ones  that  will 
always  make  you  a  failure. 

AMORY:  (Grimly)  Go  on. 

ROSALIND:  Oh — it  is  Dawson  Ryder.  He's  so  re- 
liable, I  almost  feel  that  he'd  be  a — a  background. 

AMORY:  You  don't  love  him. 

ROSALIND:  I  know,  but  I  respect  him,  and  he's  a 
good  man  and  a  strong  one. 

AMORY:  (Grudgingly)  Yes — he's  that. 

ROSALIND:  Well — here's  one  little  thing.  There  was 
a  little  poor  boy  we  met  in  Rye  Tuesday  afternoon — • 
and,  oh,  Dawson  took  him  on  his  lap  and  talked  to  him 
and  promised  him  an  Indian  suit — and  next  day  he  re- 
membered and  bought  it — and,  oh,  it  was  so  sweet  and 
I  couldn't  help  thinking  he'd  be  so  nice  to — to  our  chil- 
dren— take  care  of  them — and  I  wouldn't  have  to  worry. 

AMORY:  (In  despair)  Rosalind!    Rosalind! 
1     ROSALIND:  (With  a  faint  roguishness)  Don't  look  so 
consciously  suffering. 

AMORY:  What  power  we  have  of  hurting  each  other! 

ROSALIND:  (Commencing  to  sob  again)  It's  been  so 
perfect — you  and  I.  So  like  a  dream  that  I'd  longed  for 


208  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

and  never  thought  I'd  find.  The  first  real  unselfishness 
I've  ever  felt  in  my  life.  And  I  can't  see  it  fade  out  in  a 
colorless  atmosphere ! 

AMORY:  It  won't — it  won't! 

ROSALIND:  I'd  rather  keep  it  as  a  beautiful  memory — 
tucked  away  in  my  heart. 

AMORY:  Yes,  women  can  do  that — but  not  men.  I'd 
remember  always,  not  the  beauty  of  it  while  it  lasted, 
but  just  the  bitterness,  the  long  bitterness. 

ROSALIND:  Don't! 

AMORY:  All  the  years  never  to  see  you,  never  to  kiss 
you,  just  a  gate  shut  and  barred — you  don't  dare  be 
my  wife. 

ROSALIND:  No — no — I'm  taking  the  hardest  course, 
the  strongest  course.  Marrying  you  would  be  a  failure 
and  I  never  fail — if  you  don't  stop  walking  up  and  down 
I'll  scream! 

(Again  he  sinks  despairingly  onto  the  lounge.) 

AMORY:  Come  over  here  and  kiss  me. 

ROSALIND:  No. 

AMORY:  Don't  you  want  to  kiss  me? 

ROSALIND:  To-night  I  want  you  to  love  me  calmly 
and  coolly. 

AMORY:  The  beginning  of  the  end. 

ROSALIND:  (With  a  burst  of  insight)  Arnory,  you're 
young.  I'm  young.  People  excuse  us  now  for  our  poses 
and  vanities,  for  treating  people  like  Sancho  and  yet 
getting  away  with  it.  They  excuse  us  now.  But  you've 
got  a  lot  of  knocks  coming  to  you 

AMORY:  And  you're  afraid  to  take  them  with  me. 

ROSALIND:  No,  not  that.  There  was  a  poem  I  read 
somewhere — you'll  say  Ella  Wheeler  Wilcox  and  laugh 
— but  listen: 

"For  this  is  wisdom — to  love  and  live, 
To  take  what  fate  or  the  gods  may  give, 


THE  DEBUTANTE  209 

To  ask  no  question,  to  make  no  prayer, 
To  kiss  the  lips  and  caress  the  hair, 
Speed  passion's  ebb  as  we  greet  its  flow, 
To  have  and  to  hold,  and,  in  time — let  go." 

AMORY:  But  we  haven't  had. 

ROSALIND:  Amory,  I'm  yours — you  know  it.  There 
have  been  times  in  the  last  month  I'd  have  been  com- 
pletely yours  if  you'd  said  so.  But  I  can't  marry  you 
and  ruin  both  our  lives. 

AMORY:  We've  got  to  take  our  chance  for  happiness. 
ROSALIND:  Dawson  says  I'd  learn  to  love  him. 

(AMORY  with  his  head  sunk  in  his  hands  does  not 

move.    The  life  seems  suddenly  gone  out  of  him.) 

ROSALIND:  Lover !    Lover !    I  can't  do  with  you,  and 

I  can't  imagine  life  without  you. 

AMORY:  Rosalind,  we're  on  each  other's  nerves.    It's 

just  that  we're  both  high-strung,  and  this  week 

(His  voice  is  curiously  old.   She  crosses  to  him  and 

taking  his  face  in  her  hands,  kisses  him.} 
ROSALIND:  I  can't,  Amory.     I  can't  be  shut  away 
from  the  trees  and  flowers,  cooped  up  in  a  little  flat, 
waiting  for  you.   You'd  hate  me  in  a  narrow  atmosphere. 
I'd  make  you  hate  me. 

(Again  she  is  blinded  by  sudden  uncontrolled  tears.} 

AMORY:  Rosalind 

ROSALIND:  Oh,  darling,  go —   Don't  make  it  harder! 

I  'can't  stand  it 

AMORY  (His  face  drawn,  his  voice  strained}  Do  you 
know  what  you're  saying?  Do  you  mean  forever? 

(There  is  a  difference  somehow  in  the  quality  of  their 
suffering} 

ROSALIND:  Can't  you  see 

AMORY:  I'm  afraid  I  can't  if  you  love  me.    You're 
afraid  of  taking  two  years'  knocks  with  me. 
ROSALIND  :  I  wouldn't  be  the  Rosalind  you  love. 


210  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

AMORY:  (A  little  hysterically)  I  can't  give  you  up !  I 
can't,  that's  all !  I've  got  to  have  you ! 

ROSALIND:  (A  hard  note  in  her  voice)  You're  being  a 
baby  now. 

AMORY:  (Wildly)  I  don't  care!  You're  spoiling  our 
lives ! 

ROSALIND:  I'm  doing  the  wise  thing,  the  only  thing. 
AMORY:  Are  you  going  to  marry  Dawson  Ryder? 
ROSALIND:  Oh,  don't  ask  me.    You  know  I'm  old  in 
some  ways — in  others — well,  I'm  .just  a  little  girl.    I 
like  sunshine  and  pretty  things  and  cheerfulness — and  I 
dread  responsibility.    I  don't  want  to  think  about  pots 
and  kitchens  and  brooms.    I  want  to  worry  whether  my 
legs  will  get  slick  and  browi:  when  I  swim  in  the  summer. 
AMORY:  And  you  love  me. 

ROSALIND:  That's  just  why  it  has  to  end.  Drifting 
hurts  too  much.  We  can't  have  any  more  scenes  like 
this. 

(She  draws  his  ring  from  her  finger  and  hands  it  to 

him.    Their  eyes  blind  again  with  tears.) 
AMORY:  (His  lips  against  her  wet  cheek)  Don't!  Keep 
it,  please — oh,  don't  break  my  heart ! 

(She  presses  the  ring  softly  into  his  hand.) 
ROSALIND  (Brokenly)  You'd  better  go. 

AMORY:  Good-by 

(She  looks  at  him  once  more,  with  infinite  longing, 
infinite  sadness.) 

ROSALIND:  Don't  ever  forget  me,  Amory 

AMORY:  Good-by 

(He  goes  to  the  door,  fumbles  for  the  knob,  finds  it — 

she  sees  him  throw  back  his  head — and  he  is  gone. 

Gone — she  half  starts  from  the  lounge  and  then 

sinks  forward  on  her  face  into  the  pillows.) 

ROSALIND  :  Oh,  God,  I  want  to  die !    (After  a  moment 

she  rises  and  with  her  eyes  closed  feels  her  way  to  the  door. 


THE  DEBUTANTE  211 

Then  she  turns  and  looks  once  more  at  the  room.  Here  they 
had  sat  and  dreamed:  that  tray  she  had  so  often  filled  with 
matches  far  him;  that  shade  that  they  had  discreetly  low- 
ered one  long  Sunday  afternoon.  Misty-eyed  she  stands 
and  remembers;  she  speaks  aloud.)  Oh,  Amory,  what  have 
I  done  to  you? 

(And  deep  under  the  aching  sadness  that  will  pass 
in  time,  Rosalind  feels  that  she  has  lost  some- 
thing, she  knows  not  what,  she  knows  not  why.) 


THE  Knickerbocker  Bar,  beamed  upon  by  Maxfield 
Parrish's  jovial,  colorful  "Old  King  Cole,"  was  well 
crowded.  Amory  stopped  in  the  entrance  and  looked  at 
his  wrist-watch;  he  wanted  particularly  to  know  the 
time,  for  something  in  his  mind  that  catalogued  and 
classified  liked  to  chip  things  off  cleanly.  Later  it  would 
satisfy  him  in  a  vague  way  to  be  able  to  think  "that 
thing  ended  at  exactly  twenty  minutes  after  eight  on 
Thursday,  June  10,  1919."  This  was  allowing  for  the 
walk  from  her  house — a  walk  concerning  which  he  had 
afterward  not  the  faintest  recollection. 

He  was  in  rather  grotesque  condition:  two  days  of 
worry  and  nervousness,  of  sleepless  nights,  of  untouched 
meals,  culminating  in  the  emotional  crisis  and  Rosa- 
lind's abrupt  decision — the  strain  of  it  had  drugged  the 
foreground  of  his  mind  into  a  merciful  coma.  As  he 
fumbled  clumsily  with  the  olives  at  the  free-lunch  table, 
a  man  approached  and  spoke  to  him,  and  the  olives 
dropped  from  his  nervous  hands. 

"Well,  Amory  ..." 

It  was  some  one  he  had  known  at  Princeton;  he  had 
no  idea  of  the  name. 

"Hello,  old  boy — "  he  heard  himself  saying. 

"Name's  Jim  Wilson — you've  forgotten/' 

"Sure,  you  bet,  Jim.    I  remember." 

"Going  to  reunion?" 

"You  know!"  Simultaneously  he  realized  that  he 
was  not  going  to  reunion. 

"Get  overseas?" 

912 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    213 

Amory  nodded,  his  eyes  staring  oddly.  Stepping 
back  to  let  some  one  pass,  he  knocked  the  dish  of  olives 
to  a  crash  on  the  floor. 

"Too  bad,"  he  muttered.    "Have  a  drink?" 

Wilson,  ponderously  diplomatic,  reached  over  and 
slapped  him  on  the  back. 

"You've  had  plenty,  old  boy." 

Amory  eyed  him  dumbly  until  Wilson  grew  em- 
barrassed under  the  scrutiny. 

"Plenty,  hell ! "  said  Amory  finally.  "I  haven't  had  a 
drink  to-day." 

Wilson  looked  incredulous. 

"Have  a  drink  or  not?"  cried  Amory  rudely. 

Together  they  sought  the  bar. 

"Rye  high." 

"I'll  just  take  a  Bronx." 

Wilson  had  another;  Amory  had  several  more.  They 
decided  to  sit  down.  At  ten  o'clock  Wilson  was  dis- 
placed by  Carling,  class  of  '15.  Amory,  his  head 
spinning  gorgeously,  layer  upon  layer  of  soft  satisfac- 
tion setting  over  the  bruised  spots  of  his  spirit,  was  dis- 
coursing volubly  on  the  war. 

"  'S  a  mental  was'e,"  he  insisted  with  owl-like  wis- 
dom. "Two  years  my  life  spent  inalleshual  vacuity. 
Los'  idealism,  got  be  physcal  anmal,"  he  shook  his  fist 
expressively  at  Old  King  Cole,  "got  be  Prussian  'bout 
ev'thing,  women  'specially.  Use'  be  straight  'bout 
women  college.  Now  don'givadam."  He  expressed  his 
lack  of  principle  by  sweeping  a  seltzer  bottle  with  a 
broad  gesture  to  noisy  extinction  on  the  floor,  but  this 
did  not  interrupt  his  speech.  "Seek  pleasure  where  find 
it  for  to-morrow  die.  'At's  philos'phy  for  me  now  on." 

Carling  yawned,  but  Amory,  waxing  brilliant,  con- 
tinued: 

"Use*  wonder  'bout  things — people   satisfied   com- 


2i4  THIS   SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

promise,  fif'y-fif'y  att'tude  on  life.  Now  don'  wonder, 
don'  wonder — "  He  became  so  emphatic  in  impressing 
on  Carling  the  fact  that  he  didn't  wonder  that  he  lost 
the  thread  of  his  discourse  and  concluded  by  announcing 
to  the  bar  at  large  that  he  was  a  "physcal  anmal." 

"What  are  you  celebrating,  Amory?" 

Amory  leaned  forward  confidentially. 

"Cel'brating  blowmylife.  Great  moment  blow  my 
life.  Can't  tell  you  'bout  it " 

He  heard  Carling  addressing  a  remark  to  the  bar- 
tender: 

"Give  him  a  bromo-seltzer." 

Amory  shook  his  head  indignantly. 

"None  that  stuff!" 

"But  listen,  Amory,  you're  making  yourself  sick. 
You're  white  as  a  ghost." 

Amory  considered  the  question.  He  tried  to  look  at 
himself  in  the  mirror  but  even  by  squinting  up  one  eye 
could  only  see  as  far  as  the  row  of  bottles  behind  the  bar. 

"Like  som'n  solid.    We  go  get  some — some  salad." 

He  settled  his  coat  with  an  attempt  at  nonchalance, 
but  letting  go  of  the  bar  was  too  much  for  him,  and  he 
slumped  against  a  chair. 

"We'll  go  over  to  Shanley's,"  suggested  Carling,  of- 
fering an  elbow. 

With  this  assistance  Amory  managed  to  get  his  legs  in 
motion  enough  to  propel  him  across  Forty-second  Street. 

Shanley's  was  very  dim.  He  was  conscious  that  he 
was  talking  in  a  loud  voice,  very  succinctly  and  con- 
vincingly, he  thought,  about  a  desire  to  crush  people 
under  his  heel.  He  consumed  three  club  sandwiches, 
devouring  each  as  though  it  were  no  larger  than  a  choco- 
late-drop. Then  Rosalind  began  popping  into  his  mind 
again,  and  he  found  his  lips  forming  her  name  over  and 
over.  Next  he  was  sleepy,  and  he  had  a  hazy,  listless 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    215 

sense  of  people  in  dress  suits,  probably  waiters,  gathering 
around  the  table.  .  .  . 

...  He  was  in  a  room  and  Carling  was  saying  some- 
thing about  a  knot  in  his  shoe-lace. 

"Nemmine,"  he  managed  to  articulate  drowsily. 
"Sleep  in  'em.  .  .  ." 

STILL  ALCOHOLIC 

He  awoke  laughing  and  his  eyes  lazily  roamed  his 
surroundings,  evidently  a  bedroom  and  bath  in  a  good 
hotel.  His  head  was  whirring  and  picture  after  picture 
was  forming  and  blurring  and  melting  before  his  eyes, 
but  beyond  the  desire  to  laugh  he  had  no  entirely  con- 
scious reaction.  He  reached  for  the  'phone  beside  his 
bed. 

"Hello— what  hotel  is  this—? 

"Knickerbocker?  All  right,  send  up  two  rye  high- 
balls  " 

He  lay  for  a  moment  and  wondered  idly  whether  they'd 
send  up  a  bottle  or  just  two  of  those  little  glass  con- 
tainers. Then,  with  an  effort,  he  struggled  out  of  bed 
and  ambled  into  the  bathroom. 

When  he  emerged,  rubbing  himself  lazily  with  a 
towel,  he  found  the  bar  boy  with  the  drinks  and  had  a 
sudden  desire  to  kid  him.  On  reflection  he  decided  that 
this- would  be  undignified,  so  he  waved  him  away. 

As  the  new  alcohol  tumbled  into  his  stomach  and 
warmed  him,  the  isolated  pictures  began  slowly  to  form 
a  cinema  reel  of  the  day  before.  Again  he  saw  Rosalind 
curled  weeping  among  the  pillows,  again  he  felt  her 
tears  against  his  cheek.  Her  words  began  ringing  in 
his  ears:  "Don't  ever  forget  me,  Amory — don't  ever 
forget  me " 

"Hell!"  he  faltered  aloud,  and  then  he  choked  and 


2i6  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

collapsed  on  the  bed  in  a  shaken  spasm  of  grief.  After 
a  minute  he  opened  his  eyes  and  regarded  the  ceiling. 

"Damned  fool !"  he  exclaimed  in  disgust,  and  with  a 
voluminous  sigh  rose  and  approached  the  bottle.  After 
another  glass  he  gave  way  loosely  to  the  luxury  of  tears. 
Purposely  he  called  up  into  his  mind  little  incidents  of 
the  vanished  spring,  phrased  to  himself  emotions  that 
would  make  him  react  even  more  strongly  to  sorrow. 

"We  were  so  happy,"  he  intoned  dramatically,  "so 
very  happy."  Then  he  gave  way  again  and  knelt  be- 
side the  bed,  his  head  half -buried  in  the  pillow. 

"My  own  girl — my  own —    Oh " 

He  clinched  his  teeth  so  that  the  tears  streamed  in  a 
flood  from  his  eyes. 

"Oh  .  .  .  my  baby  girl,  all  I  had,  all  I  wanted !  .  .  . 
Oh,  my  girl,  come  back,  come  back !  I  need  you  .  .  . 
need  you  .  .  .  we're  so  pitiful  .  .  .  just  misery  we 
brought  each  other.  .  .  .  She'll  be  shut  away  from  me. 
...  I  can't  see  her;  I  can't  be  her  friend.  It's  got  to  be 
that  way — it's  got  to  be " 

And  then  again: 

"We've  been  so  happy,  so  very  happy.  ..." 

He  rose  to  his  feet  and  threw  himself  on  the  bed  in  an 
ecstasy  of  sentiment,  and  then  lay  exhausted  while  he 
realized  slowly  that  he  had  been  very  drunk  the  night 
before,  and  that  his  head  was  spinning  again  wildly. 
He  laughed,  rose,  and  crossed  again  to  Lethe.  .  .  . 

At  noon  he  ran  into  a  crowd  in  the  Biltmore  bar,  and 
the  riot  began  again.  He  had  a  vague  recollection  after- 
ward of  discussing  French  poetry  with  a  British  officer 
who  was  introduced  to  him  as  "Captain  Corn,  of  his 
Majesty's  Foot,"  and  he  remembered  attempting  to  re- 
cite "  Clair  de  Lune"  at  luncheon;  then  he  slept  in  a  big, 
soft  chair  until  almost  five  o'clock  when  another  crowd 
found  and  woke  him;  there  followed  an  alcoholic  dress- 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    217 

ing  of  several  temperaments  for  the  ordeal  of  dinner. 
They  selected  theatre  tickets  at  Tyson's  for  a  play  that 
had  a  four-drink  programme — -a  play  with  two  monoto- 
nous voices,  with  turbid,  gloomy  scenes,  and  lighting 
effects  that  were  hard  to  follow  when  his  eyes  behaved  so 
amazingly.  He  imagined  afterward  that  it  must  have 
been  "The  Jest."  .  .  . 

.  .  .  Then  the  Cocoanut  Grove,  where  Amory  slept 
again  on  a  little  balcony  outside.  Out  in  Shanley's, 
Yonkers,  he  became  almost  logical,  and  by  a  careful 
control  of  the  number  of  high-balls  he  drank,  grew  quite 
lucid  and  garrulous.  He  found  that  the  party  con- 
sisted of  five  men,  two  of  whom  he  knew  slightly;  he 
became  righteous  about  paying  his  share  of  the  expense 
and  insisted  in  a  loud  voice  on  arranging  everything 
then  and  there  to  the  amusement  of  the  tables  around 
him.  .  .  . 

Some  one  mentioned  that  a  famous  cabaret  star  was 
at  the  next  table,  so  Amory  rose  and,  approaching  gal- 
lantly, introduced  himself  .  .  .  this  involved  him  in  an 
argument,  first  with  her  escort  and  then  with  the  head- 
waiter — Amory's  attitude  being  a  lofty  and  exaggerated 
courte&y  ...  he  consented,  after  being  confronted  with 
irrefutable  logic,  to  being  led  back  to  his  own  table. 

"Decided  to  commit  suicide,"  he  announced  sud- 
denly. 

"When?    Next  year?" 

"Now.  To-morrow  morning.  Going  to  take  a  room 
at  the  Commodore,  get  into  a  hot  bath  and  open  a 
vein." 

"He's  getting  morbid !" 

"You  need  another  rye,  old  boy!" 

"We'll  all  talk  it  over  to-morrow." 

But  Amory  was  not  to  be  dissuaded,  from  argument  at 
least. 


2i8  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Did  you  ever  get  that  way?"  he  demanded  con- 
fidentially fortaccio. 

"Sure!" 

"Often?" 

"My  chronic  state." 

This  provoked  discussion.  One  man  said  that  he  got 
so  depressed  sometimes  that  he  seriously  considered  it. 
Another  agreed  that  there  was  nothing  to  live  for. 
"Captain  Corn,"  who  had  somehow  rejoined  the  party, 
said  that  in  his  opinion  it  was  when  one's  health  was 
bad  that  one  felt  that  way  most.  Amory's  suggestion 
was  that  they  should  each  order  a  Bronx,  mix  broken 
glass  in  it,  and  drink  it  off.  To  his  relief  no  one  ap- 
plauded the  idea,  so  having  finished  his  high-ball,  he 
balanced  his  chin  in  his  hand  and  his  elbow  on  the 
table — a  most  delicate,  scarcely  noticeable  sleeping 
position,  he  assured  himself — and  went  into  a  deep 
stupor.  .  .  . 

He  was  awakened  by  a  woman  dinging  to  him,  a 
pretty  woman,  with  brown,  disarranged  hair  and  dark 
blue  eyes. 

"Take  me  home!"  she  cried. 

"Hello!"  said  Amory,  blinking. 

"I  like  you,"  she  announced  tenderly. 

"I  like  you  too." 

He  noticed  that  there  was  a  noisy  man  in  the  back- 
ground and  that  one  of  his  party  was  arguing  with  him. 

"Fella  I  was  with's  a  damn  fool,"  confided  the  blue- 
eyed  woman.  "I  hate  him.  I  want  to  go  home  with 
you." 

"You  drunk?"  queried  Amory  with  intense  wisdom. 

She  nodded  coyly. 

"Go  home  with  him,"  he  advised  gravely.  "He 
brought  you." 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE     219 

At  this  point  the  noisy  man  in  the  background  broke 
away  from  his  detainers  and  approached. 

"Say!"  he  said  fiercely.  "I  brought  this  girl  out 
here  and  you're  butting  in ! " 

Amory  regarded  him  coldly,  while  the  girl  clung  to 
him  closer. 

"You  let  go  that  girl !"  cried  the  noisy  man. 

Amory  tried  to  make  his  eyes  threatening. 

"You  go  to  hell !"  he  directed  finally,  and  turned  his 
attention  to  the  girl. 

"Love  first  sight,"  he  suggested. 

"I  love  you,"  she  breathed  and  nestled  close  to  him. 
She  did  have  beautiful  eyes. 

Some  one  leaned  over  and  spoke  in  Amory's  ear. 

"That's  just  Margaret  Diamond.  She's  drunk  and 
this  fellow  here  brought  her.  Better  let  her  go." 

"Let  him  take  care  of  her,  then!"  shouted  Amory 
furiously.  "I'm  no  W.  Y.  C.  A.  worker,  am  I ?— am  I  ?  " 

"Let  her  go!" 

"It's  her  hanging  on,  damn  it!    Let  her  hang!" 

The  crowd  around  the  table  thickened.  For  an  in- 
stant a  brawl  threatened,  but  a  sleek  waiter  bent  back 
Margaret  Diamond's  fingers  until  she  released  her  hold 
on  Amory,  whereupon  she  slapped  the  waiter  furiously 
in  the  face  and  flung  her  arms  about  her  raging  original 
escort. 

"Oh,  Lord!"  cried  Amory. 

"Let's  go!" 

"Come  on,  the  taxis  are  getting  scarce!" 

"Check,  waiter." 

"C'mon,  Amory.    Your  romance  is  over." 

Amory  laughed. 

"You  don't  know  how  true  you  spoke.  No  idea. 
'At's  the  whole  trouble." 


220  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

AMORY  ON  THE  LABOR  QUESTION 

Two  mornings  later  he  knocked  at  the  president's 
door  at  Bascome  and  Barlow's  advertising  agency. 

"Come  in!" 

Amory  entered  unsteadily. 

"  'Morning,  Mr.  Barlow." 

Mr.  Barlow  brought  his  glasses  to  the  inspection  and 
set  his  mouth  slightly  ajar  that  he  might  better  listen. 

"Well,  Mr.  Blaine.  We  haven't  seen  you  for  several 
days." 

"No,"  said  Amory.    "I'm  quitting." 

"Well— well— this  is " 

"I  don't  like  it  here." 

"I'm  sorry.  I  thought  our  relations  had  been  qufte 
— ah — pleasant.  You  seemed  to  be  a  hard  worker — a 
little  inclined  perhaps  to  write  fancy  copy 

"I  just  got  tired  of  it,"  interrupted  Amory  rudely. 
"It  didn't  matter  a  damn  to  me  whether  Harebell's 
flour  was  any  better  than  any  one  else's.  In  fact,  I  never 
ate  any  of  it.  So  I  got  tired  of  telling  people  about  it — 
oh,  I  know  I've  been  drinking " 

Mr.  Barlow's  face  steeled  by  several  ingots  of  ex- 
pression. 

"You  asked  for  a  position " 

Amory  waved  him  to  silence. 

"And  I  think  I  was  rottenly  underpaid.  Thirty-five 
dollars  a  week — less  than  a  good  carpenter." 

"You  had  just  started.  You'd  never  worked  before," 
said  Mr.  Barlow  coolly. 

"But  it  took  about  ten  thousand  dollars  to  educate 
me  where  I  could  write  your  darned  stuff  for  you. 
Anyway,  as  far  as  length  of  service  goes,  you've  got 
stenographers  here  you've  paid  fifteen  a  week  for  five 
years." 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    221 

"I'm  not  going  to  argue  with  you,  sir,"  said  Mr. 
Barlow  rising. 

"Neither  am  I.  I  just  wanted  to  tell  you  I'm  quit- 
ting." 

They  stood  for  a  moment  looking  at  each  other  im- 
passively and  then  Amory  turned  and  left  the  office. 

A  LITTLE  LULL 

Four  days  after  that  he  returned  at  last  to  the  apart- 
ment. Tom  was  engaged  on  a  book  review  for  The  New 
Democracy  on  the  staff  of  which  he  was  employed.  They 
regarded  each  other  for  a  moment  in  silence. 

"Well?" 

"Well?" 

"Good  Lord,  Amory,  where'd  you  get  the  black  eye — 
and  the  jaw?" 

Amory  laughed. 

"That's  a  mere  nothing." 

He  peeled  off  his  coat  and  bared  his  shoulders. 

"Look  here!" 

Tom  emitted  a  low  whistle. 

"What  hit  you?" 

Amory  laughed  again. 

"Oh,  a  lot  of  people.  I  got  beaten  up.  Fact."  He 
slowly  replaced  his  shirt.  "It  was  bound  to  come  sooner 
or  later  and  I  wouldn't  have  missed  it  for  anything." 

"Who  was  it?" 

"Well,  there  were  some  waiters  and  a  couple  of  sailors 
and  a  few  stray  pedestrians,  I  guess.  It's  the  strangest 
feeling.  You  ought  to  get  beaten  up  just  for  the  experi- 
ence of  it.  You  fall  down  after  a  while  and  everybody 
sort  of  slashes  in  at  you  before  you  hit  the  ground — then 
they  kick  you." 

Tom  lighted  a  cigarette. 


222  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"I  spent  a  day  chasing  you  all  over  town,  Amory. 
But  you  always  kept  a  little  ahead  of  me.  I'd  say  you've 
been  on  some  party." 

Amory  tumbled  into  a  chair  and  asked  for  a  ciga- 
rette. 

"You  sober  now?"  asked  Tom  quizzically. 

"Pretty  sober.     Why?" 

"Well,  Alec  has  left.  His  family  had  been  after  him 
to  go  home  and  live,  so  he " 

A  spasm  of  pain  shook  Amory. 

"Too  bad." 

"Yes,  it  is  too  bad.  We'll  have  to  get  some  one  else 
if  we're  going  to  stay  here.  The  rent's  going  up." 

"Sure.    Get  anybody.    I'll  leave  it  to  you,  Tom." 

Amory  walked  into  his  bedroom.  The  first  thing  that 
met  his  glance  was  a  photograph  of  Rosalind  that  he 
had  intended  to  have  framed,  propped  up  against  a 
mirror  on  his  dresser.  He  looked  at  it  unmoved.  After 
the  vivid  mental  pictures  of  her  that  were  his  portion 
at  present,  the  portrait  was  curiously  unreal.  He  went 
back  into  the  study. 

"Got  a  cardboard  box?" 

"No,"  answered  Tom,  puzzled.  "Why  should  I 
have?  Oh,  yes — there  may  be  one  in  Alec's  room." 

Eventually  Amory  found  what  he  was  looking  for  and, 
returning  to  his  dresser,  opened  a  drawer  full  of  letters, 
notes,  part  of  a  chain,  two  little  handkerchiefs,  and  some 
snap-shots.  As  he  transferred  them  carefully  to  the 
box  his  mind  wandered  to  some  place  hi  a  book  where 
the  hero,  after  preserving  for  a  year  a  cake  of  his  lost 
love's  soap,  finally  washed  his  hands  with  it.  He  laughed 
and  began  to  hum  "After  you've  gone"  .  .  .  ceased 
abruptly.  .  . 

The  string  broke  twice,  and  then  he  managed  to  se- 
cure it,  dropped  the  package  into  the  bottom  x>f  his 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    223 

trunk,  and  having  slammed  the  lid  returned  to  the 
study. 

"Going  out?"  Tom's  voice  held  an  undertone  of 
anxiety. 

"Uh-huh." 

"Where?" 

"Couldn't  say,  old  keed." 

"Let's  have  dinner  together." 

"Sorry.    I  told  Sukey  Brett  I'd  eat  with  him." 

"Oh." 

"By-by." 

Amory  crossed  the  street  and  had  a  high-ball;  then  he 
walked  to  Washington  Square  and  found  a  top  seat  on 
a  bus.  He  disembarked  at  Forty-third  Street  and 
strolled  to  the  Biltmore  bar. 

"Hi,  Amory!" 

"What'll  you  have?" 

"Yohol    Waiter!" 

TEMPERATURE  NORMAL 

The  advent  of  prohibition  with  the  "thirsty-first" 
put  a  sudden  stop  to  the  submerging  of  Amory 's  sor- 
rows, and  when  he  awoke  one  morning  to  find  that  the 
old  bar-to-bar  days  were  over,  he  had  neither  remorse 
for  the  past  three  weeks  nor  regret  that  their  repetition 
was  impossible.  He  had  taken  the  most  violent,  if  the 
weakest,  method  to  shield  himself  from  the  stabs  of 
memory,  and  while  it  was  not  a  course  he  would  have 
prescribed  for  others,  he  found  in  the  end  that  it  had 
done  its  business:  he  was  over  the  first  flush  of  pain. 

Don't  misunderstand!  Amory  had  loved  Rosalind 
as  he  would  never  love  another  living  person.  She  had 
taken  the  first  flush  of  his  youth  and  brought  from  his 
unplumbed  depths  tenderness  that  had  surprised  him, 


224  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

gentleness  and  unselfishness  that  he  had  never  given  to 
another  creature.  He  had  later  love-affairs,  but  of  a 
different  sort:  in  those  he  went  back  to  that,  perhaps, 
more  typical  frame  of  mind,  in  which  the  girl  became 
the  mirror  of  a  mood  in  him.  Rosalind  had  drawn  out 
what  was  more  than  passionate  admiration;  he  had  a 
deep,  undying  affection  for  Rosalind. 

But  there  had  been,  near  the  end,  so  much  dramatic 
tragedy,  culminating  in  the  arabesque  nightmare  of  his 
three  weeks'  spree,  that  he  was  emotionally  worn  out. 
The  people  and  surroundings  that  he  remembered  as 
being  cool  or  delicately  artificial,  seemed  to  promise  him 
a  refuge.  He  wrote  a  cynical  story  which  featured  his 
father's  funeral  and  despatched  it  to  a  magazine,  re- 
ceiving in  return  a  check  for  sixty  dollars  and  a  request 
for  more  of  the  same  tone.  This  tickled  his  vanity,  but 
inspired  him  to  no  further  effort. 

He  read  enormously.  He  was  puzzled  and  depressed 
by  "A  Portrait  of  the  Artist  as  a  Young  Man";  in- 
tensely interested  by  "Joan  and  Peter"  and  "The  Un- 
dying Fire,"  and  rather  surprised  by  his  discovery 
through  a  critic  named  Mencken  of  several  excellent 
American  novels:  "Vandover  and  the  Brute,"  "The 
Damnation  of  Theron  Ware,"  and  "Jennie  Gerhardt." 
Mackenzie,  Chesterton,  Galsworthy,  Bennet,  had  sunk 
in  his  appreciation  from  sagacious,  life-saturated  geniuses 
to  merely  diverting  contemporaries.  Shaw's  aloof 
clarity  and  brilliant  consistency  and  the  gloriously  in- 
toxicated efforts  of  H.  G.  Wells  to  fit  the  key  of  romantic 
symmetry  into  the  elusive  lock  of  truth,  alone  won  his 
rapt  attention. 

He  wanted  to  see  Monsignor  Darcy,  to  whom  he  had 
written  when  he  landed,  but  he  had  not  heard  from 
him;  besides  he  knew  that  a  visit  to  Monsignor  would 
entail  the  story  of  Rosalind,  and  the  thought  of  repeat- 
ing it  turned  him  cold  with  horror. 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE     225 

In  his  search  for  cool  people  he  remembered  Mrs. 
Lawrence,  a  very  intelligent,  very  dignified  lady,  a 
convert  to  the  church,  and  a  great  devotee  of  Mon- 
signor's. 

He  called  her  on  the  'phone  one  day.  Yes,  she  re- 
membered him  perfectly;  no,  Monsignor  wasn't  in  town, 
was  in  Boston  she  thought;  he'd  promised  to  come  to 
dinner  when  he  returned.  Couldn't  Amory  take  luncheon 
with  her? 

"I  thought  I'd  better  catch  up,  Mrs.  Lawrence,"  he 
said  rather  ambiguously  when  he  arrived. 

""Monsignor  was  here  just  last  week,"  said  Mrs. 
Lawrence  regretfully.  "He  was  very  anxious  to  see 
you,  but  he'd  left  your  address  at  home." 

"Did  he  think  I'd  plunged  into  Bolshevism?"  asked 
Amory,  interested. 

"Oh,  he's  having  a  frightful  time." 

"Why?" 

"About  the  Irish  Republic.  He  thinks  it  lacks  dig- 
nity." 

"So?" 

"He  went  to  Boston  when  the  Irish  President  arrived 
and  he  was  greatly  distressed  because  the  receiving 
committee,  when  they  rode  in  an  automobile,  would  put 
their  arms  around  the  President." 

"I  don't  blame  him." 

"Well,  what  impressed  you  more  than  anything  while 
you  were  hi  the  army?  You  look  a  great  deal  older." 

"That's  from  another,  more  disastrous  battle,"  he 
answered,  smiling  in  spite  of  himself.  "But  the  army- 
let  me  see — well,  I  discovered  that  physical  courage  de- 
pends to  a  great  extent  on  the  physical  shape  a  man  is 
in.  I  found  that  I  was  as  brave  as  the  next  man — it  used 
to  worry  me  before." 

"What  else?" 

"Well,  the  idea  that  men  can  stand  anything  if  they 


226  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

get  used  to  it,  and  the  fact  that  I  got  a  high  mark  in  the 
psychological  examination." 

Mrs.  Lawrence  laughed.  Amory  was  finding  it  a 
great  relief  to  be  in  this  cool  house  on  Riverside  Drive, 
away  from  more  condensed  New  York  and  the  sense  of 
people  expelling  great  quantities  of  breath  into  a  little 
space.  Mrs.  Lawrence  reminded  him  vaguely  of  Bea- 
trice, not  in  temperament,  but  in  her  perfect  grace  and 
dignity.  The  house,  its  furnishings,  the  manner  in 
which  dinner  was  served,  were  in  immense  contrast  to 
what  he  had  met  in  the  great  places  on  Long  Island, 
where  the  servants  were  so  obtrusive  that  they  had 
positively  to  be  bumped  out  of  the  way,  or  even  in  the 
houses  of  more  conservative  "Union  Club"  families. 
He  wondered  if  this  air  of  symmetrical  restraint,  this 
grace,  which  he  felt  was  continental,  was  distilled  through 
Mrs.  Lawrence's  New  England  ancestry  or  acquired  in 
long  residence  in  Italy  and  Spain. 

Two  glasses  of  sauterne  at  luncheon  loosened  his 
tongue,  and  he  talked,  with  what  he  felt  was  something 
of  his  old  charm,  of  religion  and  literature  and  the 
menacing  phenomena  of  the  social  order.  Mrs.  Lawrence 
was  ostensibly  pleased  with  him,  and  her  interest  was 
especially  in  his  mind;  he  wanted  people  to  like  his 
mind  again — after  a  while  it  might  be  such  a  nice  place 
in  which  to  live. 

"Monsignor  Darcy  still  thinks  that  you're  his  re- 
incarnation, that  your  faith  will  eventually  clarify." 

"Perhaps,"  he  assented.  "I'm  rather  pagan  at  pres- 
ent. It's  just  that  religion  doesn't  seem  to  have  the 
slightest  bearing  on  life  at  my  age." 

When  he  left  her  house  he  walked  down  Riverside 
Drive  with  a  feeling  of  satisfaction.  It  was  amusing 
to  discuss  again  such  subjects  as  this  young  poet, 
Stephen  Vincent  Bene"t,  or  the  Irish  Republic.  Between 
the  rancid  accusations  of  Edward  Carson  and  Justice 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    227 

Cohalan  he  had  completely  tired  of  the  Irish  question; 
yet  there  had  been  a  time  when  his  own  Celtic  traits 
were  pillars  of  his  personal  philosophy. 

There  seemed  suddenly  to  be  much  left  in  life,  if  only 
this  revival  of  old  interests  did  not  mean  that  he  was 
backing  away  from  it  again — backing  away  from  life 
itself. 

RESTLESSNESS 

"I'm  tres  old  and  tres  bored,  Tom,"  said  Amory  one 
day,  stretching  himself  at  ease  in  the  comfortable  win- 
dow-seat. He  always  felt  most  natural  in  a  recumbent 
position. 

"You  used  to  be  entertaining  before  you  started  to 
write,"  he  continued.  "Now  you  save  any  idea  that 
you  think  would  do  to  print." 

Existence  had  settled  back  to  an  ambitionless  normal- 
ity. They  had  decided  that  with  economy  they  could 
still  afford  the  apartment,  which  Tom,  with  the  domes- 
ticity of  an  elderly  cat,  had  grown  fond  of.  The  old 
English  hunting  prints  on  the  wall  were  Tom's,  and  the 
large  tapestry  by  courtesy,  a  relic  of  decadent  days  in 
college,  and  the  great  profusion  of  orphaned  candle- 
sticks and  the  carved  Louis  XV  chair  in  which  no  one 
could  sit  more  than  a  minute  without  acute  spinal  dis- 
orders— Tom  claimed  that  this  was  because  one  was 
sitting  in  the  lap  of  Montespan's  wraith — at  any  rate, 
it  was  Tom's  furniture  that  decided  them  to  stay. 

They  went  out  very  little:  to  an  occasional  play,  or  to 
dinner  at  the  Ritz  or  the  Princeton  Club.  With  pro- 
hibition the  great  rendevouz  had  received  their  death 
wounds;  no  longer  could  one  wander  to  the  Biltmore 
bar  at  twelve  or  five  and  find  congenial  spirits,  and  both 
Torn  and  Amory  had  outgrown  the  passion  for  dancing 
with  mid-Western  or  New  Jersey  debbies  at  the  Club- 
de-Vingt  (surnamed  the  "Club  de  Gink")  or  the  Plaza, 


228  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Rose  Room — besides  even  that  required  several  cock- 
tails "to  come  down  to  the  intellectual  level  of  the 
women  present,"  as  Amory  had  once  put  it  to  a  horrified 
matron. 

Amory  had  lately  received  several  alarming  letters 
from  Mr.  Barton — the  Lake  Geneva  house  was  too  large 
to  be  easily  rented;  the  best  rent  obtainable  at  present 
would  serve  this  year  to  little  more  than  pay  for  the  taxes 
and  necessary  improvements;  in  fact,  the  lawyer  sug- 
gested that  the  whole  property  was  simply  a  white  ele- 
phant on  Amory's  hands.  Nevertheless,  even  though  it 
might  not  yield  a  cent  for  the  next  three  years,  Amory 
decided  with  a  vague  sentimentality  that  for  the  present, 
at  any  rate,  he  would  not  sell  the  house. 

This  particular  day  on  which  he  announced  his  ennui 
to  Tom  had  been  quite  typical.  He  had  risen  at  noon, 
lunched  with  Mrs.  Lawrence,  and  then  ridden  abstract- 
edly homeward  atop  one  of  his  beloved  buses. 

"Why  shouldn't  you  be  bored,"  yawned  Tom.  "Isn't 
that  the  conventional  frame  of  mind  for  the  young  man 
of  your  age  and  condition?" 

"Yes,"  said  Amory  speculatively,  "but  I'm  more 
than  bored;  I  am  restless."  - 

"Love  and  war  did  for  you." 

"Well,"  Amory  considered,  "I'm  not  sure  that  the 
war  itself  had  any  great  effect  on  either  you  or  me — 
but  it  certainly  ruined  the  old  backgrounds,  sort  of 
killed  individualism  out  of  our  generation." 

Tom  looked  up  in  surprise. 

"Yes  it  did,"  insisted  Amory.  "I'm  not  sure  it 
didn't  kill  it  out  of  the  whole  world.  Oh,  Lord,  what  a 
pleasure  it  used  to  be  to  dream  I  might  be  a  really  great 
dictator  or  writer  or  religious  or  political  leader — and 
now  even  a  Leonardo  da  Vinci  or  Lorenzo  de  Medici 
couldn't  be  a  real  old-fashioned  bolt -in  the  world.  Life 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    229 

is  too  huge  and  complex.  The  world  is  so  overgrown 
that  it  can't  lift  its  own  fingers,  and  I  was  planning  to 
be  such  an  important  finger " 

"I  don't  agree  with  you,"  Tom  interrupted.  "There 
never  were  men  placed  in  such  egotistic  positions  since 
— oh,  since  the  French  Revolution." 

Amory  disagreed  violently. 

"You're  mistaking  this  period  when  every  nut  is  an 
individualist  for  a  period  of  individualism.  Wilson  has 
only  been  powerful  when  he  has  represented;  he's  had  to 
compromise  over  and  over  again.  Just  as  soon  as  Trot- 
sky and  Lenine  take  a  definite,  consistent  stand  they'll 
become  merely  two-minute  figures  like  Kerensky.  Even 
Foch  hasn't  half  the  significance  of  Stonewall  Jackson. 
War  used  to  be  the  most  individualistic  pursuit  of  man, 
and  yet  the  popular  heroes  of  the  war  had  neither 
authority  nor  responsibility:  Guynemer  and  Sergeant 
York.  How  could  a  schoolboy  make  a  hero  of  Pershing? 
A  big  man  has  no  time  really  to  do  anything  but  just  sit 
and  be  big." 

"Then  you  don't  think  there  will  be  any  more  per- 
manent world  heroes?" 

"Yes — in  history — not  in  life.  Carlyle  would  have 
difficulty  getting  material  for  a  new  chapter  on  'The 
Hero  as  a  Big  Man.'" 

"Go  on.    I'm  a  good  listener  to-day." 

."People  try  so  hard  to  believe  in  leaders  now,  piti- 
fully hard.  But  we  no  sooner  get  a  popular  reformer  or 
politician  or  soldier  or  writer  or  philosopher — a  Roose- 
velt, a  Tolstoi,  a  Wood,  a  Shaw,  a  Nietzsche,  than 
the  cross-currents  of  criticism  wash  him  away.  My 
Lord,  no  man  can  stand  prominence  these  days.  It's 
the  surest  path  to  obscurity.  People  get  sick  of  hearing 
the  same  name  over  and  over." 

"Then  you  blame  it  on  the  press?" 


230  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Absolutely.  Look  at  you;  you're  on  The  New  De- 
mocracy, considered  the  most  brilliant  weekly  in  the 
country,  read  by  the  men  who  do  things  and  all  that. 
What's  your  business  ?  Why,  to  be  as  clever,  as  interest- 
ing, and  as  brilliantly  cynical  as  possible  about  every 
man,  doctrine,  book,  or  policy  that  is  assigned  you  to  deal 
with.  The  more  strong  lights,  the  more  spiritual  scandal 
you  can  throw  on  the  matter,  the  more  money  they  pay 
you,  the  more  the  people  buy  the  issue.  You,  Tom 
d'Invilliers,  a  blighted  Shelley,  changing,  shifting,  clever, 
unscrupulous,  represent  the  critical  consciousness  of  the 
race —  Oh,  don't  protest,  I  know  the  stuff.  I  used 
to  write  book  reviews  in  college;  I  considered  it  rare 
sport  to  refer  to  the  latest  honest,  conscientious  effort 
to  propound  a  theory  or  a  remedy  as  a  'welcome  ad- 
dition to  our  light  summer  reading.'  Come  on  now,  ad- 
mit it." 

Tom  laughed,  and  Amory  continued  triumphantly. 

"We  want  to  believe.  Young  students  try  to  believe 
in  older  authors,  constituents  try  to  believe  in  their 
Congressmen,  countries  try  to  believe  in  their  states- 
men, but  they  can't.  Too  many  voices,  too  much  scat- 
tered, illogical,  ill-considered  criticism.  It's  worse  in 
the  case  of  newspapers.  Any  rich,  unprogressive  old 
party  with  that  particularly  grasping,  acquisitive  form 
of  mentality  known  as  financial  genius  can  own  a 
paper  that  is  the  intellectual  meat  and  drink  of  thou- 
sands of  tired,  hurried  men,  men  too  involved  in  the 
business  of  modern  living  to  swallow  anything  but 
predigested  food.  For  two  cents  the  voter  buys  his 
politics,  prejudices,  and  philosophy.  A  year  later  there 
is  a  new  political  ring  or  a  change  in  the  paper's  owner- 
ship, consequence:  more  confusion,  more  contradiction, 
a  rudden  inrush  of  new  ideas,  their  tempering,  their  dis- 
tillation, the  reaction  against  them " 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    231 

He  paused  only  to  get  his  breath. 

"And  that  is  why  I  have  sworn  not  to  put  pen  to 
paper  until  my  ideas  either  clarify  or  depart  entirely; 
I  have  quite  enough  sins  on  my  soul  without  putting 
dangerous,  shallow  epigrams  into  people's  heads;  I 
might  cause  a  poor,  inoffensive  capitalist  to  have  a  vul- 
gar liaison  with  a  bomb,  or  get  some  innocent  little 
Bolshevik  tangled  up  with  a  machine-gun  bullet " 

Tom  was  growing  restless  under  this  lampooning  of 
his  connection  with  The  New  Democracy. 

"What's  all  this  got  to  do  with  your  being  bored?" 

Amory  considered  that  it  had  much  to  do  with  it. 

"How5!!  I  fit  in?"  he  demanded.  "What  am  I  for? 
To  propagate  the  race?  According  to  the  American 
novels  we  are  led  to  believe  that  the  'healthy  American 
boy'  from  nineteen  to  twenty-five  is  an  entirely  sexless 
animal.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  healthier  he  is  the  less 
that's  true.  The  only  alternative  to  letting  it  get  you 
is  some  violent  interest.  Well,  the  war  is  over;  I  believe 
too  much  in  the  responsibilities  of  authorship  to  write 
just  now;  and  business,  well,  business  speaks  for  itself. 
It  has  no  connection  with  anything  in  the  world  that 
I've  ever  been  interested  in,  except  a  slim,  utilitarian 
connection  with  economics.  What  I'd  see  of  it,  lost  in  a 
clerkship,  for  the  next  and  best  ten  years  of  my  life  would 
have  the  intellectual  content  of  an  industrial  movie." 

"Try  fiction,"  suggested  Tom. 

"Trouble  is  I  get  distracted  when  I  start  to  write 
stories — get  afraid  I'm  doing  it  instead  of  living — get 
thinking  maybe  life  is  waiting  for  me  in  the  Japanese 
gardens  at  the  Ritz  or  at  Atlantic  City  or  on  the  lower 
East  Side. 

"Anyway,"  he  continued,  "I  haven't  the  vital  urge. 
I  wanted  to  be  a  regular  human  being  but  the  girl 
couldn't  see  it  that  way." 


232  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"You'll  find  another." 

"God!  Banish  the  thought.  Why  don't  you  tell  me 
that  'if  the  girl  had  been  worth  having  she'd  have 
waited  for  you'?  No,  sir,  the  girl  really  worth  having 
won't  wait  for  anybody.  If  I  thought  there'd  be  an- 
other I'd  lose  my  remaining  faith  in  human  nature. 
Maybe  I'll  play — but  Rosalind  was  the  only  girl  in  the 
wide  world  that  could  have  held  me." 

"Well,"  yawned  Tom,  "I've  played  confidant  a  good 
hour  by  the  clock.  Still,  I'm  glad  to  see  you're  begin- 
ning to  have  violent  views  again  on  something." 

"I  am,"  agreed  Amory  reluctantly.  "Yet  when  I  see 
a  happy  family  it  makes  me  sick  at  my  stomach 

"Happy  families  try  to  make  people  feel  that  way," 
said  Tom  cynically. 

TOM  THE  CENSOR 

There  were  days  when  Amory  listened.  These  were 
when  Tom,  wreathed  in  smoke,  indulged  in  the  slaughter 
of  American  literature.  Words  failed  him. 

"Fifty  thousand  dollars  a  year,"  he  would  cry.  "My 
God!  Look  at  them,  look  at  them — Edna  Ferber, 
Gouverneur  Morris,  Fanny  Hurst,  Mary  Roberts  Rine- 
hart — not  producing  among  'em  one  story  or  novel  that 
will  last  ten  years.  This  man  Cobb — I  don't  think  he's 
either  clever  or  amusing — and  what's  more,  I  don't  think 
very  many  people  do,  except  the  editors.  He's  just 
groggy  with  advertising.  And — oh  Harold  Bell  Wright 
oh  Zone  Grey " 

"They  try." 

"No,  they  don't  even  try.  Some  of  them  can  write, 
but  they  won't  sit  down  and  do  one  honest  novel. 
Most  of  them  can't  write,  I'll  admit.  I  believe  Rupert 
Hughes  tries  to  give  a  real,  comprehensive  picture  of 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    233 

American  fife,  but  his  style  and  perspective  are  bar- 
barous. Ernest  Poole  and  Dorothy  Canfield  try  but 
they're  hindered  by  their  absolute  lack  of  any  sense  of 
humor;  but  at  least  they  crowd  their  work  instead  of 
spreading  it  thin.  Every  author  ought  to  write  every 
book  as  if  he  were  going  to  be  beheaded  the  day  he 
finished  it." 

"Is  that  double  entente?" 

"Don't  slow  me  up !  Now  there's  a  few  of  'em  that 
seem  to  have  some  cultural  background,  some  intelli- 
gence and  a  good  deal  of  literary  felicity  but  they  just 
simply  won't  write  honestly;  they'd  all  claim  there  was 
no  public  for  good  stuff.  Then  why  the  devil  is  it  that 
Wells,  Conrad,  Galsworthy,  Shaw,  Bennett,  and  the  rest 
depend  on  America  for  over  half  their  sales?" 

"How  does  little  Tommy  like  the  poets?" 

Tom  was  overcome.  He  dropped  his  arms  until  they 
swung  loosely  beside  the  chair  and  emitted  faint  grunts. 

"I'm  writing  a  satire  on  'em  now,  calling  it  'Boston 
Bards  and  Hearst  Reviewers.' ' 

"Let's  hear  it,"  said  Amory  eagerly. 

"I've  only  got  the  last  few  lines  done." 

"That's  very  modern.  Let's  hear  'em,  if  they're 
funny." 

Tom  produced  a  folded  paper  from  his  pocket  and 
read  aloud,  pausing  at  intervals  so  that  Amory  could 
see  that  it  was  free  verse: 

"So 

Walter  Arensberg, 
Alfred  Kreymborg, 
Carl  Sandburg, 
Louis  Untermeyer, 
Eunice  Tietjens, 
Clara  Shanafelt, 
James  Oppenheim, 
Maxwell  Bodenheim, 


234  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Richard  Glaenzer, 

Scharmel  Iris, 

Conrad  Aiken, 

I  place  your  names  here 

So  that  you  may  live 

If  only  as  names, 

Sinuous,  mauve-colored  names, 

In  the  Juvenalia 

Of  my  collected  editions." 

Amory  roared. 

"You  win  the  iron  pansy.  I'll  buy  you  a  meal  on  the 
arrogance  of  the  last  two  lines." 

Amory  did  not  entirely  agree  with  Tom's  sweeping 
damnation  of  American  novelists  and  poets.  He  en- 
joyed both  Vachel  Lindsay  and  Booth  Tarkington,  and 
admired  the  conscientious,  if  slender,  artistry  of  Edgar 
Lee  Masters. 

"What  I  hate  is  this  idiotic  drivel  about  'I  am  God— 
I  am  man — I  ride  the  winds — I  look  through  the  smoke 
— I  am  the  life  sense.' ' 

"It's  ghastly!" 

"And  I  wish  American  novelists  would  give  up  trying 
to  make  business  romantically  interesting.  Nobody 
wants  to  read  about  it,  unless  it's  crooked  business.  If 
it  was  an  entertaining  subject  they'd  buy  the  life  of 
James  J.  Hill  and  not  one  of  these  long  office  tragedies 
that  harp  along  on  the  significance  of  smoke 

"And  gloom,"  said  Tom.  "That's  another  favorite, 
though  I'll  admit  the  Russians  have  the  monopoly. 
Our  specialty  is  stories  about  little  girls  who  break  their 
spines  and  get  adopted  by  grouchy  old  men  because 
they  smile  so  much.  You'd  think  we  were  a  race  of 
cheerful  cripples  and  that  the  common  end  of  the 
Russian  peasant  was  suicide " 

"Six  o'clock,"  said  Amory,  glancing  at  his  wrist- 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    235 

watch.    "I'll  buy  you  a  grea'  big  dinner  on  the  strength 
of  the  Juvenalia  of  your  collected  editions." 


LOOKING  BACKWARD 

July  sweltered  out  with  a  last  hot  week,  and  Amory 
in  another  surge  of  unrest  realized  that  it  was  just  five 
months  since  he  and  Rosalind  had  met.  Yet  it  was 
already  hard  for  him  to  visualize  the  heart-whole  boy 
who  had  stepped  off  the  transport,  passionately  desiring 
the  adventure  of  life.  One  night  while  the  heat,  over- 
powering and  enervating,  poured  into  the  windows  of 
his  room  he  struggled  for  several  hours  in  a  vague  ef- 
fort to  immortalize  the  poignancy  of  that  time. 

The  February  streets,  wind-washed  by  night,  blow  full  of 
strange  half-intermittent  damps,  bearing  on  wasted  walks 
in  shining  sight  wet  snow  plashed  into  gleams  under  the 
lamps,  like  golden  oil  from  some  divine  machine,  in  an 
hour  of  thaw  and  stars. 

Strange  damps — -full  of  the  eyes  of  many  men,  crowded 
with  life  borne  in  upon  a  lull.  .  .  .  Oh,  I  was  young,  for 
I  could  turn  again  to  you,  most  finite  and  most  beautiful, 
and  taste  the  stuff  of  half-remembered  dreams,  sweet  and 
new  on  your  mouth. 

.  .  .  There  was  a  tanging  in  the  midnight  air — silence 
was  dead  and  sound  not  yet  awoken — Life  cracked  like 
ice!' — one  brilliant  note  and  there,  radiant  and  pale,  you 
stood  .  .  .  and  spring  had  broken.  (The  icicles  were 
short  upon  the  roofs  and  the  changeling  city  swooned.) 

Our  thoughts  were  frosty  mist  along  the  eaves;  our  two 
ghosts  kissed,  high  on  the  long,  mazed  wires — eerie  half- 
laughter  echoes  here  and  leaves  only  a  fatuous  sigh  for  young 
desires;  regret  has  followed  after  things  she  loved,  leaving 
the  great  husk. 


236  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ANOTHER  ENDING 

In  mid-August  came  a  letter  from  Monsignor  Darcy, 
who  had  evidently  just  stumbled  on  his  address: 

MY  DEAR  BOY: — 

Your  last  letter  "was  quite  enough  to  make  me  worry  about 
you.  It  was  not  a  bit  like  yourself.  Reading  between  the  lines 
I  should  imagine  that  your  engagement  to  this  girl  is  making 
you  rather  unhappy,  and  I  see  you  have  lost  all  the  feeling  of 
romance  that  you  had  before  the  war.  You  make  a  great  mis- 
take if  you  think  you  can  be  romantic  without  religion.  Some- 
times I  think  that  with  both  of  us  the  secret  of  success,  when 
we  find  it,  is  the  mystical  element  in  us:  something  flows  into 
us  that  enlarges  our  personalities,  and  when  it  ebbs  out  our 
personalities  shrink;  I  should  call  your  last  two  letters  rather 
shrivelled.  Beware  of  losing  yourself  in  the  personality  of  an- 
other being,  man  or  woman. 

His  Eminence  Cardinal  O'Neill  and  the  Bishop  of  Boston 
are  staying  with  me  at  present,  so  it  is  hard  for  me  to  get  a 
moment  to  write,  but  I  wish  you  would  come  up  here  later  if 
only  for  a  week-end.  I  go  to  Washington  this  week. 

What  I  shall  do  in  the  future  is  hanging  in  the  balance. 
Absolutely  between  ourselves  I  should  not  be  surprised  to  see 
the  red  hat  of  a  cardinal  descend  upon  my  unworthy  head  within 
the  next  eight  months.  In  any  event,  I  should  like  to  have  a 
house  in  New  York  or  Washington  where  you  could  drop  in  for 
week-ends. 

Amory,  I'm  very  glad  we're  both  alive;  this  war  could  easily 
have  been  the  end  of  a  brilliant  family.  But  in  regard  to  matri- 
mony, you  are  now  at  the  most  dangerous  period  of  your  life. 
You  might  marry  in  haste  and  repent  at  leisure,  but  I  think  you 
won't.  From  what  you  write  me  about  the  present  calamitous 
state  of  your  finances,  what  you  want  is  naturally  impossible. 
However,  if  I  judge  you  by  the  means  I  usually  choose,  I  should 
say  that  there  will  be  something  of  an  emotional  crisis  within 
the  next  year. 

Do  write  me.    I  feel  annOyingly  out  of  date  on  you. 
With  greatest  affection, 

THAYER  DARCY. 


EXPERIMENTS  IN  CONVALESCENCE    237 

Within  a  week  after  the  receipt  of  this  letter  their 
little  household  fell  precipitously  to  pieces.  The  im- 
mediate cause  was  the  serious  and  probably  chronic 
illness  of  Tom's  mother.  So  they  stored  the  furniture, 
gave  instructions  to  sublet  and  shook  hands  gloomily 
in  the  Pennsylvania  Station.  Amory  and  Tom  seemed 
always  to  be  saying  good-by. 

Feeling  very  much  alone,  Amory  yielded  to  an  im- 
pulse and  set  off  southward,  intending  to  join  Monsignor 
in  Washington.  They  missed  connections  by  two  hours, 
and,  deciding  to  spend  a  few  days  with  an  ancient,  re- 
membered uncle,  Amory  journeyed  up  through  the  luxu- 
riant fields  of  Maryland  into  Ramilly  County.  But  in- 
stead of  two  days  his  stay  lasted  from  mid- August  nearly 
through  September,  for  in  Maryland  he  met  Eleanor. 


CHAPTER  in 
YOUNG  IRONY 

FOR  years  afterward  when  Amory  thought  of  Eleanor 
he  seemed  still  to  hear  the  wind  sobbing  around  him 
and  sending  little  chills  into  the  places  beside  his  heart. 
The  night  when  they  rode  up  the  slope  and  watched  the 
cold  moon  float  through  the  clouds,  he  lost  a  further 
part  of  him  that  nothing  could  restore;  and  when  he 
lost  it  he  lost  also  the  power  of  regretting  it.  Eleanor 
was,  say,  the  last  time  that  evil  crept  close  to  Amory 
under  the  mask  of  beauty,  the  last  weird  mystery 
that  held  him  with  wild  fascination  and  pounded  his 
soul  to  flakes. 

With  her  his  imagination  ran  riot  and  that  is  why  they 
rode  to  the  highest  hill  and  watched  an  evil  moon  ride 
high,  for  they  knew  then  that  they  could  ^see  the  devil 
in  each  other.  But  Eleanor — did  Amory  dream  her? 
Afterward  their  ghosts  played,  yet  both  of  them  hoped 
from  their  souls  never  to  meet.  Was  it  the  infinite 
sadness  of  her  eyes  that  drew  him  or  the  mirror  of  him- 
self that  he  found  in  the  gorgeous  clarity  of  her  mind  ? 
She  will  have  no  other  adventure  like  Amory,  and  if  she 
reads  this  she  will  say: 

"And  Amory  will  have  no  other  adventure  like  me." 

Nor  will  she  sigh,  any  more  than  he  would  sigh. 

Eleanor  tried  to  put  it  on  paper  once: 

"The  fading  things  we  only  know 
We'll  have  forgotten  .  .  . 

Put  away  .  .  . 

Desires  that  melted  with  the  snow, 
238 


YOUNG  IRONY  239 

And  dreams  begotten 

This  to-day: 
The  sudden  dawns  we  laughed  to  greet, 

That  all  could  see,  that  none  could  share, 
Will  be  but  dawns  .  .  .  and  if  we  meet 

We  shall  not  care. 

Dear  .  .  .  not  one  tear  will  rise  for  this  .  .  . 

A  little  while  hence 

No  regret 
Wfll  stir  for  a  remembered  kiss — 

Not  even  silence, 

When  we've  met, 
Wifl  give  old  ghosts  a  waste  to  roam, 

Or  stir  the  surface  of  the  sea  .  .  . 
If  gray  shapes  drift  beneath  the  foam 

We  shall  not  see." 

They  quarrelled  dangerously  because  Amory  main- 
tained that  sea  and  see  couldn't  possibly  be  used  as  a 
rhyme.  And  then  Eleanor  had  part  of  another  verse 
that  she  couldn't  find  a  beginning  for: 

"...  But  wisdom  passes  .  .  .  still  the  years 
Will  feed  us  wisdom.  .  .  .    Age  will  go 
Back  to  the  old —    For  all  our  tears 
We  shall  not  know." 

Eleanor  hated  Maryland  passionately.  She  belonged 
to  the  oldest  of  the  old  families  of  Ramilly  County  and 
lived  in  a  big,  gloomy  house  with  her  grandfather.  She 
had  been  born  and  brought  up  hi  France.  ...  I  see  I 
am  starting  wrong.  Let  me  begin  again. 

Amory  was  bored,  as  he  usually  was  in  the  country. 
He  used  to  go  for  far  walks  by  himself — and  wander 
along  reciting  "Ulalume"  to  the  corn-fields,  and  con- 
gratulating Poe  for  drinking  himself  to  death  in  that  at- 
mosphere of  smiling  complacency.  One  afternoon  he  had 
strolled  for  several  miles  along  a  road  that  was  new  to 


240  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

him,  and  then  through  a  wood  on  bad  advice  from  a 
colored  woman  .  .  .  losing  himself  entirely.  A  passing 
storm  decided  to  break  out,  and  to  his  great  impatience 
the  sky  grew  black  as  pitch  and  the  rain  began  to  splatter 
down  through  the  trees,  become  suddenly  furtive  and 
ghostly.  Thunder  rolled  with  menacing  crashes  up  the 
valley  and  scattered  through  the  woods  in  intermittent 
batteries.  He  stumbled  blindly  on,  hunting  for  a  way 
out,  and  finally,  through  webs  of  twisted  branches, 
caught  sight  of  a  rift  in  the  trees  where  the  unbroken 
lightning  showed  open  country.  He  rushed  to  the  edge 
of  the  woods  and  then  hesitated  whether  or  not  to  cross 
the  fields  and  try  to  reach  the  shelter  of  the  little  house 
marked  by  a  light  far  down  the  valley.  It  was  only 
half  past  five,  but  he  could  see  scarcely  ten  steps  be- 
fore him,  except  when  the  lightning  made  everything 
vivid  and  grotesque  for  great  sweeps  around. 

Suddenly  a  strange  sound  fell  on  his  ears.  It  was  a 
song,  in  a  low,  husky  voice,  a  girl's  voice,  and  whoever 
was  singing  was  very  close  to  him.  A  year  before  he 
might  have  laughed,  or  trembled;  but  in  his  restless 
mood  he  only  stood  and  listened  while  the  words  sank 
into  his  consciousness: 

"Les  sanglots  longs 
Des  violons 

De  I'automne 
Blessent  mon  ceur 
D'une  langueur 

Monotone" 

The  lightning  split  the  sky,  but  the  song  went  on 
without  a  quaver.  The  girl  was  evidently  in  the  field 
and  the  voice  seemed  to  come  vaguely  from  a  haystack 
about  twenty  feet  in  front  of  him. 

Then  it  ceased;  ceased  and  began  again  in  a  weird 


YOUNG  IRONY  241 

chant  that  soared  and  hung  and  fell  and  blended  with 
the  rain: 

"Toutsujfocant 
El  U&ne  qwnd 
Sonne  Vheure 
Je  me  souviens 
Des  jours  anciens 
Etjepleure.  ..." 

"Who  the  devil  is  there  in  Ramilly  County,"  mut- 
tered Amory  aloud,  "who  would  deliver  Verlaine  in  an 
extemporaneous  tune  to  a  soaking  haystack?" 

"Somebody's  there!"  cried  the  voice  unalarmed. 
"Who  are  you? — Manfred,  St.  Christopher,  or  Queen 
Victoria?" 

"I'm  Don  Juan!"  Amory  shouted  on  impulse,  raising 
his  voice  above  the  noise  of  the  rain  and  the  wind. 

A  delighted  shriek  came  from  the  haystack. 

"I  know  who  you  are — you're  the  blond  boy  that 
likes  'Ulalume' — I  recognize  your  voice." 

"How  do  I  get  up  ?  "  he  cried  from  the  foot  of  the  hay- 
stack, whither  he  had  arrived,  dripping  wet  A  head 
appeared  over  the  edge — it  was  so  dark  that  Amory 
could  just  make  out  a  patch  of  damp  hair  and  two  eyes 
that  gleamed  like  a  cat's. 

"Run  back!"  came  the  voice,  "and  jump  and  I'll 
catch  your  hand — no,  not  there — on  the  other  side." 

•He  followed  directions  and  as  he  sprawled  up  the 
side,  knee-deep  in  hay,  a  small,  white  hand  reached 
out,  gripped  his,  and  helped  him  onto  the  top. 

"Here  you  are,  Juan,"  cried  she  of  the  damp  hair. 
"Do  you  mind  if  I  drop  the  Don?" 

"You've  got  a  thumb  like  mine!"  he  exclaimed. 

"And  you're  holding  my  hand,  which  is  dangerous 
without  seeing  my  face."  He  dropped  it  quickly. 

As  if  in  answer  to  his  prayers  came  a  flash  of  light- 


242  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

ning  and  he  looked  eagerly  at  her  who  stood  beside  him 
on  the  soggy  haystack,  ten  feet  above  the  ground.  But 
she  had  covered  her  face  and  he  saw  nothing  but  a 
slender  figure,  dark,  damp,  bobbed  hair,  and  the  small 
white  hands  with  the  thumbs  that  bent  back  like  his. 

"Sit  down,"  she  suggested  politely,  as  the  dark  closed 
in  on  them.  "If  you'll  sit  opposite  me  in  this  hollow 
you  can  have  half  of  the  raincoat,  which  I  was  using  as 
a  water-proof  tent  until  you  so  rudely  interrupted  me." 

"I  was  asked,"  Amory  said  joyfully;  "you  asked 
me — you  know  you  did." 

"Don  Juan  always  manages  that,"  she  said,  laughing, 
"but  I  shan't  call  you  that  any  more,  because  you've 
got  reddish  hair.  Instead  you  can  recite  'Ulalume'  and 
I'll  be  Psyche,  your  soul." 

Amory  flushed,  happily  invisible  under  the  curtain  of 
wind  and  rain.  They  were  sitting  opposite  each  other 
in  a  slight  hollow  in  the  hay  with  the  raincoat  spread 
over  most  of  them,  and  the  rain  doing  for  the  rest. 
Amory  was  trying  desperately  to  see  Psyche,  but  the 
lightning  refused  to  flash  again,  and  he  waited  im- 
patiently. Good  Lord !  supposing  she  wasn't  beautiful 
— supposing  she  was  forty  and  pedantic — heavens! 
Suppose,  only  suppose,  she  was  mad.  But  he  knew  the 
last  was  unworthy.  Here  had  Providence  sent  a  girl 
to  amuse  him  just  as  it  sent  Benvenuto  Cellini  men  to 
murder,  and  he  was  wondering  if  she  was  mad,  just  be- 
cause she  exactly  filled  his  mood. 

"I'm  not,"  she  said. 

"Not  what?" 

"Not  mad.  I  didn't  think  you  were  mad  when  I 
first  saw  you,  so  it  isn't  fair  that  you  should  think  so 
of  me." 

"How  on  earth " 

As  long  as  they  knew  each  other  Eleanor  and  Amory 


YOUNG  IRONY  243 

could  be  "on  a  subject"  and  stop  talking  with  the  defin- 
ite thought  of  it  in  their  heads,  yet  ten  minutes  later 
speak  aloud  and  find  that  their  minds  had  followed  the 
same  channels  and  led  them  each  to  a  parallel  idea,  an 
idea  that  others  would  have  found  absolutely  uncon- 
nected with  the  first. 

"Tell  me,"  he  demanded,  leaning  forward  eagerly, 
"how  do  you  know  about ' Ulalume* — how  did  you  know 
the  color  of  my  hair?  What's  your  name?  What  were 
you  doing  here?  Tell  me  all  at  once!" 

Suddenly  the  lightning  flashed  in  with  a  leap  of  over- 
reaching light  and  he  saw  Eleanor,  and  looked  for  the 
first  time  into  those  eyes  of  hers.  Oh,  she  was  mag- 
nificent— pale  skin,  the  color  of  marble  in  starlight, 
slender  brows,  and  eyes  that  glittered  green  as  emer- 
alds in  the  blinding  glare.  She  was  a  witch,  of  perhaps 
nineteen,  he  judged,  alert  and  dreamy  and  with  the 
tell-tale  white  line  over  her  upper  lip  that  was  a  weak- 
ness and  a  delight.  He  sank  back  with  a  gasp  against 
the  wall  of  hay. 

"Now  you've  seen  me,"  she  said  calmly,  "and  I  sup- 
pose you're  about  to  say  that  my  green  eyes  are  burning 
into  your  brain." 

"What  color  is  your  hair?"  he  asked  intently.  "It's 
bobbed,  isn't  it?" 

"Yes,  it's  bobbed.  I  don't  know  what  color  it  is," 
she  answered,  musing,  "so  many  men  have  asked  me. 
It's  medium,  I  suppose —  No  one  ever  looks  long  at 
my  hair.  I've  got  beautiful  eyes,  though,  haven't  I. 
I  don't  care  what  you  say,  I  have  beautiful  eyes." 

"Answer  my  question,  Madeline." 

"Don't  remember  them  all — besides  my  name  isn't 
Madeline,  it's  Eleanor." 

"I  might  have  guessed  it.  You  look  like  Eleanor — 
you  have  that  Eleanor  look.  You  know  what  I  mean." 


244  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

There  was  a  silence  as  they  listened  to  the  rain. 

"It's  going  down  my  neck,  fellow  lunatic,"  she  of- 
fered finally. 

"Answer  my  questions." 

"Well — name  of  Savage,  Eleanor;  live  in  big  old 
house  mile  down  road;  nearest  living  relation  to  be 
notified,  grandfather — Ramilly  Savage;  height,  five  feet 
four  inches;  number  on  watch-case,  3077  W;  nose,  deli- 
cate aquiline;  temperament,  uncanny- — " 

"And  me,"  Amory  interrupted,  "where  did  you  see 
me?" 

"Oh,  you're  one  of  those  men,"  she  answered  haught- 
ily, "must  lug  old  self  into  conversation.  Well,  my  boy, 
I  was  behind  a  hedge  sunning  myself  one  day  last  week, 
and  along  comes  a  man  saying  in  a  pleasant,  conceited 
way  of  talking: 

"  'And  now  when  the  night  was  senescent' 

(says  he) 

'  And  the  star  dials  pointed  to  morn 
At  the  end  of  the  path  a  liquescent' 

(says  he) 
'And  nebulous  lustre  was  born.' 

So  I  poked  my  eyes  up  over  the  hedge,  but  you  had 
started  to  run,  for  some  unknown  reason,  and  so  I  saw 
but  the  back  of  your  beautiful  head.  'Oh I'  says  I, 
'  there's  a  man  for  whom  many  of  us  might  sigh/  and  I 
continued  in  my  best  Irish " 

"All  right,"  Amory  interrupted.  "Now  go  back  to 
yourself." 

' '  Well,  I  will.  I'm  one  of  those  people  who  go  through 
the  world  giving  other  people  thrills,  but  getting  few 
myself  except  those  I  read  into  men  on  such  nights  as 
these.  I  have  the  social  courage  to  go  on  the  stage, 
but  not  the  energy;  I  haven't  the  patience  to  write 


YOUNG  IRONY  245 

books;  and  I  never  met  a  man  I'd  marry.  However, 
I'm  only  eighteen." 

The  storm  was  dying  down  softly  and  only  the  wind 
kept  up  its  ghostly  surge  and  made  the  stack  lean  and 
gravely  settle  from  side  to  side.  Amory  was  in  a  trance. 
He  felt  that  every  moment  was  precious.  He  had  never 
met  a  girl  like  this  before — she  would  never  seem  quite 
the  same  again.  He  didn't  at  all  feel  like  a  character 
in  a  play,  the  appropriate  feeling  in  an  unconven- 
tional situation — instead,  he  had  a  sense  of  coming 
home. 

"I  have  just  made  a  great  decision,"  said  Eleanor 
after  another  pause,  "and  that  is  why  I'm  here,  to  an- 
swer another  of  your  questions.  I  have  just  decided 
that  I  don't  believe  in  immortality." 

"Really!  how  banal!" 

"Frightfully  so,"  she  answered,  "but  depressing  with 
a  stale,  sickly  depression,  nevertheless.  I  came  out  here 
to  get  wet — like  a  wet  hen;  wet  hens  always  have  great 
clarity  of  mind,"  she  concluded. 

"Go  on,"  Amory  said  politely. 

"Well — I'm  not  afraid  of  the  dark,  so  I  put  on  my 
slkker  and  rubber  boots  and  came  out.  You  see  I  was 
always  afraid,  before,  to  say  I  didn't  believe  in  God — 
because  the  lightning  might  strike  me — but  here  I  am 
and  it  hasn't,  of  course,  but  the  main  point  is  that  this 
time  I  wasn't  any  more  afraid  of  it  than  I  had  been  when 
I  was  a  Christian  Scientist,  like  I  was  last  year.  So 
now  I  know  I'm  a  materialist  and  I  was  fraternizing 
with  the  hay  when  you  came  out  and  stood  by  the^woods, 
'scared  to  death." 

"Why,  you  little  wretch — "  cried  Amory  indignantly. 
"Scared  of  what?" 

"Yourself!"  she  shouted,  and  he  jumped.  She  clapped 
her  hands  and  laughed.  "See — see!  Conscience — kill 


246  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

it  like  me !   Eleanor  Savage,  materiologist — no  jumping, 
no  starting,  come  early ' 

"But  I  have  to  have  a  soul,"  he  objected.  "I  can't 
be  rational — and  I  won't  be  molecular." 

She  leaned  toward  him,  her  burning  eyes  never  leav- 
ing his  own  and  whispered  with  a  sort  of  romantic 
finality: 

"I  thought  so,  Juan,  I  feared  so — you're  sentimental. 
You're  not  like  me.  I'm  a  romantic  little  materialist." 

"I'm  not  sentimental — I'm  as  romantic  as  you  are. 
The  idea,  you  know,  is  that  the  sentimental  person 
thinks  things  will  last — the  romantic  person  has  a 
desperate  confidence  that  they  won't."  (This  was  an 
ancient  distinction  of  Amory's.) 

"Epigrams.  I'm  going  home,"  she  said  sadly.  "Let's 
get  off  the  haystack  and  walk  to  the  cross-roads." 

They  slowly  descended  from  their  perch.  She  would 
not  let  him  help  her  down  and  motioning  him  away 
arrived  in  a  graceful  lump  in  the  soft  mud  where  she 
sat  for  an  instant,  laughing  at  herself.  Then  she  jumped 
to  her  feet  and  slipped  her  hand  into  his,  and  they  tip- 
toed across  the  fields,  jumping  and  swinging  from  dry 
spot  to  dry  spot.  A  transcendent  delight  seemed  to, 
sparkle  in  every  pool  of  water,  for  the  moon  had  risen 
and  the  storm  had  scurried  away  into  western  Mary- 
land. When  Eleanor's  arm  touched  his  he  felt  his 
hands  grow  cold  with  deadly  fear  lest  he  should  lose  the 
shadow  brush  with  which  his  imagination  was  painting 
wonders  of  her.  He  watched  her  from  the  corners  of 
his  eyes  as  ever  he  did  when  he  walked  with  her — she 
was  a  feast  and  a  folly  and  he  wished  it  had  been  his  des- 
tiny to  sit  forever  on  a  haystack  and  see  life  through  her 
green  eyes.  His  paganism  soared  that  night  and  when 
she  faded  out  like  a  gray  ghost  down  the  road,  a  deep 
singing  came  out  of  the  fields  and  filled  his  way  home- 


YOUNG  IRONY  247 

ward.  All  night  the  summer  moths  flitted  in  and  out  of 
Amory's  window;  all  night  large  looming  sounds  swayed 
in  mystic  revery  through  the  silver  grain — and  he  lay 
awake  in  the  clear  darkness. 

SEPTEMBER 

Amory  selected  a  blade  of  grass  and  nibbled  at  it 
scientifically. 

"I  never  fall  in  love  in  August  or  September,"  he 
proffered. 

"When  then?" 

"Christmas  or  Easter.    I'm  a  liturgist" 

"Easter!"  She  turned  up  her  nose.  "Huh!  Spring 
in  corsets!" 

"Easter  would  bore  spring,  wouldn't  she?  Easter  has 
her  hair  braided,  wears  a  tailored  suit." 

"  Bind  on  thy  sandals,  oh,  thou  most  fleet. 
Over  the  splendor  and  speed  of  thy  feet " 

quoted  Eleanor  softly,  and  then  added:  "I  suppose 
Hallowe'en  is  a  better  day  for  autumn  than  Thanks- 
giving." 

"Much  better — and  Christmas  eve  does  very  well 
for  winter,  but  summer  ..." 

"Summer  has  no  day,"  she  said.  "We  can't  possibly 
have  a  summer  love.  So  many  people  have  tried  that 
the  name's  become  proverbial.  Summer  is  only  the 
unfulfilled  promise  of  spring,  a  charlatan  in  place  of  the 
warm  balmy  nights  I  dream  of  in  April.  It's  a  sad 
season  of  life  without  growth.  ...  It  has  no  day." 

"Fourth  of  July,"  Amory  suggested  facetiously. 

"Don't  be  funny!"  she  said,  raking  him  with  her 
eyes. 

"Well,  what  could  fulfil  the  promise  of  spring?" 


248  THIS   SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

She  thought  a  moment. 

"Oh,  I  suppose  heaven  would,  if  there  was  one,"  she 
said  finally,  "a  sort  of  pagan  heaven — you  ought  to  be 
a  materialist,"  she  continued  irrelevantly. 

"Why?" 

"Because  you  look  a  good  deal  like  the  pictures  of 
Rupert  Brooke." 

To  some  extent  Amory  tried  to  play  Rupert  Brooke 
as  long  as  he  knew  Eleanor.  What  he  said,  his  attitude 
toward  life,  toward  her,  toward  himself,  were  all  re- 
flexes of  the  dead  Englishman's  literary  moods.  Often 
she  sat  in  the  grass,  a  lazy  wind  playing  with  her  short 
hair,  her  voice  husky  as  she  ran  up  and  down  the  scale 
from  Grantchester  to  Waikiki.  There  was  something 
most  passionate  in  Eleanor's  reading  aloud.  They 
seemed  nearer,  not  only  mentally,  but  physically,  when 
they  read,  than  when  she  was  in  his  arms,  and  this  was 
often,  for  they  fell  half  into  love  almost  from  the  first. 
Yet  was  Amory  capable  of  love  now?  He  could,  as 
always,  run  through  the  emotions  in  a  half  hour,  but 
even  while  they  revelled  in  their  imaginations,  he  knew 
that  neither  of  them  could  care  as  he  had  cared  once 
before — I  suppose  that  was  why  they  turned  to  Brooke, 
and  Swinburne,  and  Shelley.  Their  chance  was  to  make 
everything  fine  and  finished  and  rich  and  imaginative; 
they  must  bend  tiny  golden  tentacles  from  his  imagina- 
tion to  hers,  that  would  take  the  place  of  the  great, 
deep  love  that  was  never  so  near,  yet  never  so  much  of  a 
dream. 

One  poem  they  read  over  and  over;  Swinburne's 
"Triumph  of  Time,"  and  four  lines  of  it  rang  in  his 
memory  afterward  on  warm  nights  when  he  saw  the 
fireflies  among  dusky  tree  trunks  and  heard  the  low 
drone  of  many  frogs.  Then  Eleanor  seemed  to  come 
out  of  the  night  and  stand  by  him,  and  he  heard  her 


YOUNG  IRONY  249 

throaty  voice,  with  its  tone  of  a  fleecy-headed  drum, 
repeating: 

"Is  it  worth  a  tear,  is  it  worth  an  hour, 

To  think  of  things  that  are  well  outworn; 
Of  fruitless  husk  and  fugitive  flower, 

The  dream  foregone  and  the  deed  foreborne  ?  " 

They  were  formally  introduced  two  days  later,  and 
his  aunt  told  him  her  history.  The  Ramillys  were  two : 
old  Mr.  Ramilly  and  his  granddaughter,  Eleanor.  She 
had  lived  in  France  with  a  restless  mother  whom  Amory 
imagined  to  have  been  very  like  his  own,  on  whose 
death  she  had  come  to  America,  to  live  in  Maryland. 
She  had  gone  to  Baltimore  first  to  stay  with  a  bachelor 
uncle,  and  there  she  insisted  on  being  a  debutante  at 
the  age  of  seventeen.  She  had  a  wild  winter  and  ar- 
rived in  the  country  in  March,  having  quarrelled  fran- 
tically with  all  her  Baltimore  relatives,  and  shocked 
them  into  fiery  protest.  A  rather  fast  crowd  had  come 
out,  who  drank  cocktails  in  limousines  and  were  pro- 
miscuously condescending  and  patronizing  toward  older 
people,  and  Eleanor  with  an  esprit  that  hinted  strongly 
of  the  boulevards,  led  many  innocents  still  redolent  of 
St.  Timothy's  and  Farmington,  into  paths  of  Bohemian 
naughtiness.  When  the  story  came  to  her  uncle,  a 
forgetful  cavalier  of  a  more  hypocritical  era,  there  was 
a  scene,  from  which  Eleanor  emerged,  subdued  but  re- 
bellious and  indignant,  to  seek  haven  with  her  grand- 
father who  hovered  in  the  country  on  the  near  side  of 
senility.  That's  as  far  as  her  story  went;  she  told  him 
the  rest  herself,  but  that  was  later. 

Often  they  swam  and  as  Amory  floated  lazily  in  the 
water  he  shut  his  mind  to  all  thoughts  except  those  of 
hazy  soap-bubble  lands  where  the  sun  splattered  through 
wind-drunk  trees.  How  could  any  one  possibly  think 


250  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

or  worry,  or  do  anything  except  splash  and  dive  and 
loll  there  on  the  edge  of  time  while  the  flower  months 
failed.  Let  the  days  move  over — sadness  and  memory 
and  pain  recurred  outside,  and  here,  once  more,  before 
he  went  on  to  meet  them  he  wanted  to  drift  and  be 
young. 

There  were  days  when  Amory  resented  that  life  had 
changed  from  an  even  progress  along  a  road  stretching 
ever  in  sight,  with  the  scenery  merging  and  blending, 
into  a  succession  of  quick,  unrelated  scenes — two  years 
of  sweat  and  blood,  that  sudden  absurd  instinct  for  pa- 
ternity that  Rosalind  had  stirred;  the  half-sensual,  half- 
neurotic  quality  of  this  autumn  with  Eleanor.  He  felt 
that  it  would  take  all  time,  more  than  he  could  ever 
spare,  to  glue  these  strange  cumbersome  pictures  into 
the  scrap-book  of  his  life.  It  was  all  like  a  banquet 
where  he  sat  for  this  half-hour  of  his  youth  and  tried 
to  enjoy  brilliant  epicurean  courses. 

Dimly  he  promised  himself  a  time  where  all  should  be 
welded  together.  For  months  it  seemed  that  he  had 
alternated  between  being  borne  along  a  stream  of  love 
or  fascination,  or  left  in  an  eddy,  and  in  the  eddies  he 
had  not  desired  to  think,  rather  to  be  picked  up  on  a 
wave's  top  and  swept  along  again. 

"The  despairing,  dying  autumn  and  our  love — how 
well  they  harmonize ! "  said  Eleanor  sadly  one  day  as 
they  lay  dripping  by  the  water. 

"The  Indian  summer  of  our  hearts — "  he  ceased. 

"Tell  me,"  she  said  finally,  "was  she  light  or  dark?" 

"Light." 

"Was  she  more  beautiful  than  I  am?" 

"I  don't  know,"  said  Amory  shortly. 

One  night  they  walked  while  the  moon  rose  and 
poured  a  great  burden  of  glory  over  the  garden  until  it 


YOUNG  IRONY  251 

seemed  fairy-land  with  Amory  and  Eleanor,  dim  phan- 
tasmal shapes,  expressing  eternal  beauty  in  curious 
elfin  love  moods.  Then  they  turned  out  of  the  moon- 
light into  the  trellised  darkness  of  a  vine-hung  pagoda, 
where  there  were  scents  so  plaintive  as  to  be  nearly 
musical. 

"Light  a  match,"  she  whispered.  "I  want  to  see 
you." 

Scratch !    Flare ! 

The  night  and  the  scarred  trees  were  like  scenery  in  a 
play,  and  to  be  there  with  Eleanor,  shadowy  and  unreal, 
seemed  somehow  oddly  familiar.  Amory  thought  how 
it  was  only  the  past  that  ever  seemed  strange  and  unbe- 
lievable. The  match  went  out. 

"It's  black  as  pitch." 

"We're  just  voices  now,"  murmured  Eleanor,  "little 
lonesome  voices.  Light  another." 

"That  was  my  last  match." 

Suddenly  he  caught  her  in  his  arms. 

"You  are  mine — you  know  you're  mine!"  he  cried 
wildly  .  .  .  the  moonlight  twisted  in  through  the  vines 
and  listened  .  .  .  the  fireflies  hung  upon  their  whispers 
as  if  to  win  his  glance  from  the  glory  of  their  eyes. 

THE  END  OF  SUMMER 

"No  wind  is  stirring  in  the  grass;  not  one  wind  stirs 
.  .  .  the  water  in  the  hidden  pools,  as  glass,  fronts  the 
full  moon  and  so  inters  the  golden  token  in  its  icy  mass," 
chanted  Eleanor  to  the  trees  that  skeletoned  the  body 
of  the  night.  "Isn't  it  ghostly  here?  If  you  can  hold 
your  horse's  feet  up,  let's  cut  through  the  woods  and 
find  the  hidden  pools." 

"It's  after  one,  and  you'll  get  the  devil,"  he  objected, 


252  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"and  I  don't  know  enough  about  horses  to  put  one  away 
in  the  pitch  dark." 

"Shut  up,  you  old  fool,"  she  whispered  irrelevantly, 
and,  leaning  over,  she  patted  him  lazily  with  her  riding- 
crop.  "You  can  leave  your  old  plug  in  our  stable  and 
I'll  send  him  over  to-morrow." 

"But  my  uncle  has  got  to  drive  me  to  the  station 
with  this  old  plug  at  seven  o'clock." 

"Don't  be  a  spoil-sport — remember,  you  have  a 
tendency  toward  wavering  that  prevents  you  from  being 
the  entire  light  of  my  life." 

Amory  drew  his  horse  up  close  beside,  and,  leaning 
toward  her,  grasped  her  hand. 

"  Say  I  am — quick,  or  I'll  pull  you  over  and  make  you 
ride  behind  me." 

She  looked  up  and  smiled  and  shook  her  head  ex- 
citedly. 

"Oh,  do ! — or  rather,  don't !  Why  are  all  the  exciting 
things  so  uncomfortable,  like  fighting  and  exploring  and 
ski-ing  in  Canada  ?  By  the  way,  we're  going  to  ride  up 
Harper's  Hill.  I  think  that  comes  in  our  programme 
about  five  o'clock." 

"You  little  devil,"  Amory  growled.  "You're  going  to 
make  me  stay  up  all  night  and  sleep  in  the  train  like  an 
immigrant  all  day  to-morrow,  going  back  to  New  York." 

"Hush !  some  one's  coming  along  the  road — let's  go ! 
Whoo-ee-oopt"  And  with  a  shout  that  probably  gave 
the  belated  traveller  a  series  of  shivers,  she  turned  her 
horse  into  the  woods  and  Amory  followed  slowly,  as  he 
had  followed  her  all  day  for  three  weeks. 

The  summer  was  over,  but  he  had  spent  the  days  in 
watching  Eleanor,  a  graceful,  facile  Manfred,  build 
herself  intellectual  and  imaginative  pyramids  while  she 
revelled  in  the  artificialities  of  .the  temperamental  teens 
and  they  wrote  poetry  at  the  dinner-table. 


YOUNG  IRONY  253 

When  Vanity  kissed  Vanity,  a  hundred  happy  Junes  ago,  he 
pondered  o'er  her  breathlessly,  and,  that  all  men  might  ever 
know,  he  rhymed  her  eyes  with  life  and  death: 

"Thru  Time  I'll  save  my  love!"  he  said  .  .  .  yet  Beauty 
vanished  with  his  breath,  and,  with  her  lovers,  she  was  dead  .  .  . 

— Ever  his  wit  and  not  her  eyes,  ever  his  art  and  not  her  hair: 

"Who'd  learn  a  trick  in  rhyme,  be  wise  and  pause  before  bis 
sonnet  there"  ...  So  all  my  words,  however  true,  might  sing 
you  to  a  thousandth  June,  and  no  one  ever  know  that  you  were 
Beauty  for  an  afternoon. 

So  he  wrote  one  day,  when  he  pondered  how  coldly 
we  thought  of  the  "Dark  Lady  of  the  Sonnets,"  and  how 
little  we  remembered  her  as  the  great  man  wanted  her 
remembered.  For  what  Shakespeare  must  have  de- 
sired, to  have  been  able  to  write  with  such  divine  de- 
spair, was  that  the  lady  should  live  .  .  .  and  now  we 
have  no  real  interest  in  her.  .  .  .  The  irony  of  it  is  that 
if  he  had  cared  more  for  the  poem  than  for  the  lady  the 
sonnet  would  be  only  obvious,  imitative  rhetoric  and  no 
one  would  ever  have  read  it  after  twenty  years.  .  .  . 

This  was  the  last  night  Amory  ever  saw  Eleanor. 
He  was  leaving  in  the  morning  and  they  had  agreed  to 
take  a  long  farewell  trot  by  the  cold  moonlight.  She 
wanted  to  talk,  she  said — perhaps  the  last  time  in  her 
life  that  she  could  be  rational  (she  meant  pose  with 
comfort).  So  they  had  turned  into  the  woods  and  rode 
for  half  an  hour  with  scarcely  a  word,  except  when  she 
whispered  "Damn!"  at  a  bothersome  branch — whis- 
pered it  as  no  other  girl  was  ever  able  to  whisper  it. 
Then  they  started  up  Harper's  Hill,  walking  their  tired 
horses. 

"Good  Lord!  It's  quiet  here!"  whispered  Eleanor; 
"much  more  lonesome  than  the  woods." 

"I  hate  woods,"  Amory  said,  shuddering.  "Any  kind 
of  foliage  or  underbrush  at  night.  Out  here  it's  so  broad 
and  easy  on  the  spirit." 


254  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"The  long  slope  of  a  long  hill." 

"And  the  cold  moon  rolling  moonlight  down  it." 

"And  thee  and  me,  last  and  most  important." 

It  was  quiet  that  night — the  straight  road  they  fol- 
lowed up  to  the  edge  of  the  cliff  knew  few  footsteps  at 
any  time.  Only  an  occasional  negro  cabin,  silver-gray 
in  the  rock-ribbed  moonlight,  broke  the  long  line  of  bare 
ground;  behind  lay  the  black  edge  of  the  woods  like  a 
dark  frosting  on  white  cake,  and  ahead  the  sharp,  high 
horizon.  It  was  much  colder — so  cold  that  it  settled  on 
them  and  drove  all  the  warm  nights  from  their  minds. 

"The  end  of  summer,"  said  Eleanor  softly.  "Listen 
to  the  beat  of  our  horses'  hoofs — '  tump-tump-tump-a- 
tump.'  Have  you  ever  been  feverish  and  had  all  noises 
divide  into  'tump-tump-tump7  until  you  could  swear 
eternity  was  divisible  into  so  many  tumps  ?  That's  the 
way  I  feel — old  horses  go  tump-tump.  ...  I  guess 
that's  the  only  thing  that  separates  horses  and  clocks 
from  us.  Human  beings  can't  go  '  tump-tiimp-tump ' 
without  going  crazy." 

The  breeze  freshened  and  Eleanor  pulled  her  cape 
around  her  and  shivered. 

"Are  you  very  cold?"  asked  Amory. 

"No,  I'm  thinking  about  myself — my  black  old  in- 
side self,  the  real  one,  with  the  fundamental  honesty 
that  keeps  me  from  being  absolutely  wicked  by  making 
me  realize  my  own  sins." 

They  were  riding  up  close  by  the  cliff  and  Amory  gazed 
over.  Where  the  fall  met  the  ground  a  hundred  feet 
below,  a  black  stream  made  a  sharp  line,  broken  by  tiny 
glints  in  the  swift  water. 

"Rotten,  rotten  old  world,"  broke  out  Eleanor  sud- 
denly, "and  the  wretchedest  thing  of  all  is  me — oh, 
why  am  I  a  girl  ?  Why  am  I  not  a  stupid —  ?  Look  at 
you;  you're  stupider  than  I  am,  not  much,  but  some, 


YOUNG  IRONY  255 

and  you  can  lope  about  and  get  bored  and  then  lope 
somewhere  else,  and  you  can  play  around  with  girls 
without  being  involved  in  meshes  of  sentiment,  and  you 
can  do  anything  and  be  justified — and  here  am  I  with 
the  brains  to  do  everything,  yet  tied  to  the  sinking  ship 
of  future  matrimony.  If  I  were  born  a  hundred  years 
from  now,  well  and  good,  but  now  what's  in  store  for 
me — I  have  to  marry,  that  goes  without  saying.  Who  ? 
I'm  too  bright  for  most  men,  and  yet  I  have  to  descend 
to  their  level  and  let  them  patronize  my  intellect  in  or- 
der to  get  their  attention.  Every  year  that  I  don't 
marry  I've  got  less  chance  for  a  first-class  man.  At 
the  best  I  can  have  my  choice  from  one  or  two  cities  and, 
of  course,  I  have  to  marry  into  a  dinner-coat. 

"Listen,"  she  leaned  close  again,  "I  like  clever  men 
and  good-looking  men,  and,  of  course,  no  one  cares 
more  for  personality  than  I  do.  Oh,  just  one  person  in 
fifty  has  any  glimmer  of  what  sex  is.  I'm  hipped  on 
Freud  and  all  that,  but  it's  rotten  that  every  bit  of 
real  love  in  the  world  is  ninety-nine  per  cent  passion  and 
one  little  soupjon  of  jealousy. "  She  finished  as  suddenly 
as  she  began. 

"Of  course,  you're  right,"  Amory  agreed.  "It's  a 
rather  unpleasant  overpowering  force  that's  part  of  the 
machinery  under  everything.  It's  like  an  actor  that 
lets  you  see  his  mechanics !  Wait  a  minute  till  I  think 
this  out  .  .. ." 

He  paused  and  tried  to  get  a  metaphor.  They  had 
turned  the  cliff  and  were  riding  along  the  road  about 
fifty  feet  to  the  left. 

"You  see  every  one's  got  to  have  some  cloak  to  throw 
around  it.  The  mediocre  intellects,  Plato's  second  class, 
use  the  remnants  of  romantic  chivalry  diluted  with 
Victorian  sentiment — and  we  who  consider  ourselves 
the  intellectuals  cover  it  up  by  pretending  that  it's 


256  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

another  side  of  us,  has  nothing  to  do  with  our  shining 
brains;  we  pretend  that  the  fact  that  we  realize  it  is 
•really  absolving  us  from  being  a  prey  to  it.  But  the 
truth  is  that  sex  is  right  in  the  middle  of  our  purest 
abstractions,  so  close  that  it  obscures  vision.  ...  I 
can  kiss  you  now  and  will.  .  .  ."-  He  leaned  toward 
her  in  his  saddle,  but  she  drew  away. 

"I  can't — I  can't  kiss  you  now — I'm  more  sensi- 
tive." 

"You're  more  stupid  then,"  he  declared  rather  im- 
patiently. "Intellect  is  no  protection  from  sex  any  more 
than  convention  is  .  .  . " 

"What  is?"  she  fired  up.  "The  Catholic  Church  or  the 
maxims  of  Confucius?" 

Amory  looked  up,  rather  taken  aback. 

"That's  your  panacea,  isn't  it?"  she  cried.  "Oh, 
you're  just  an  old  hypocrite,  too.  Thousands  of  scowling 
priests  keeping  the  degenerate  Italians  and  illiterate 
Irish  repentant  with  gabble-gabble  about  the  sixth  and 
ninth  commandments.  It's  just  all  cloaks,  sentiment  and 
spiritual  rouge  and  panaceas.  I'll  tell  you  there  is  no 
God,  not  even  a  definite  abstract  goodness;  so  it's  all 
got  to  be  worked  out  for  the  individual  by  the  individual 
here  in  high  white  foreheads  like  mine,  and  you're  too 
much  the  prig  to  admit  it."  She  let  go  her  reins  and 
shook  her  little  fists  at  the  stars. 

"If  there's  a  God  let  him  strike  me — strike  me!" 
>     "Talking  about  God  again  after  the  manner  of  athe- 
ists," Amory  said  sharply.    His  materialism,  always  a 
thin  cloak,  was  torn  to  shreds  by  Eleanor's  blasphemy. 
.  .  .    She  knew  it  and  it  angered  him  that  she  knew  it. 

"And  like  most  inteDectuals  who  don't  find  faith  con- 
venient," he  continued  coldly,  "like  Napoleon  and  Oscar 
Wilde  and  the  rest  of  your  type,  you'll  yell  loudly  for  a 
priest  on  your  death-bed." 


YOUNG  IRONY  257 

Eleanor  drew  her  horse  up  sharply  and  he  reined  in 
beside  her. 

"Will  I?"  she  said  in  a  queer  voice  that  scared  him. 
"Will  I?  Watch!  I'm  going  over  the  cliff 7"  And  be- 
fore he  could  interfere  she  had  turned  and  was  riding 
breakneck  for  the  end  of  the  plateau. 

He  wheeled  and  started  after  her,  his  body  like  ice, 
his  nerves  in  a  vast  clangor.  There  was  no  chance  of 
stopping  her.  The  moon  was  under  a  cloud  and  her 
horse  would  step  blindly  over.  Then  some  ten  feet 
from  the  edge  of  the  cliff  she  gave  a  sudden  shriek  and 
flung  herself  sideways — plunged  from  her  horse  and, 
rolling  over  twice,  landed  in  a  pile  of  brush  five  feet 
from  the  edge.  The  horse  went  over  with  a  frantic 
whinny.  In  a  minute  he  was  by  Eleanor's  side  and  saw 
that  her  eyes  were  open. 

"Eleanor!"  he  cried. 

She  did  not  answer,  but  her  lips  moved  and  her  eyes 
filled  with  sudden  tears. 

"Eleanor,  are  you  hurt?" 

"No;  I  don't  think  so,"  she  said  faintly,  and  then  be- 
gan weeping. 

"My  horse  dead?" 

"Good  God—   Yes!" 

"Oh!"  she  wailed.  "I  thought  I  was  going  over.  I 
didn't  know " 

He  helped  her  gently  to  her  feet  and  boosted  her  on- 
to his  saddle.  So  they  started  homeward;  Amory  walk- 
ing and  she  bent  forward  on  the  pommel,  sobbing 
bitterly. 

"I've  got  a  crazy  streak,"  she  faltered,  "twice  before 
I've  done  things  like  that.  When  I  was  eleven  mother 
went — went  mad — stark  raving  crazy.  We  were  in 
Vienna " 

All  the  way  back  she  talked  haltingly  about  herself, 


258  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

and  Amory's  love  waned  slowly  with  the  moon.  At  her 
door  they  started  from  habit  to  kiss  good  night,  but  she 
could  not  run  into  his  arms,  nor  were  they  stretched  to 
meet  her  as  in  the  week  before.  For  a  minute  they 
stood  there,  hating  each  other  with  a  bitter  sadness. 
But  as  Amory  had  loved  himself  in  Eleanor,  so  now 
what  he  hated  was  only  a  mirror.  Their  poses  were 
strewn  about  the  pale  dawn  like  broken  glass.  The 
stars  were  long  gone  and  there  were  left  only  the  little 
sighing  gusts  of  wind  and  the  silences  between  .  .  . 
but  naked  souls  are  poor  things  ever,  and  soon  he  turned 
homeward  and  let  new  lights  come  in  with  the  sun. 

A  POEM  THAT  ELEANOR  SENT  AMORY 
SEVERAL  YEARS  LATER 

"Here,  Earth-born,  over  the  lilt  of  the  water, 

Lisping  its  music  and  bearing  a  burden  of  light, 
Bosoming  day  as  a  laughing  and  radiant  daughter  .  .  . 

Here  we  may  whisper  unheard,  unafraid  of  the  night. 
Walking  alone  .  .  .  was  it  splendor,  or  what,  we  were  bound 
with, 

Deep  iii  the  time  when  summer  lets  down  her  hair? 
Shadows  we  loved  and  the  patterns  they  covered  the  ground 
with 

Tapestries,  mystical,  faint  in  the  breathless  air. 

That  was  the  day  .  .  .  and  the  night  for  another  story, 

Pale  as  a  dream  and  shadowed  with  pencilled  trees — 
Ghosts  of  the  stars  came  by  who  had  sought  for  glory, 

Whispered  to  us  of  peace  in  the  plaintive  breeze, 
Whispered  of  old  dead  faiths  that  the  day  had  shattered, 

Youth  the  penny  that  bought  delight  of  the  moon; 
That  was  the  urge  that  we  knew  and  the  language  that  mat- 
tered 

That  was  the  debt  that  we  paid  to  the  usurer  June. 

Here,  deepest  of  dreams,  by  the  waters  that  bring  not 
Anything  back  of  the  past  that  we  need  not  know, 


YOUNG  IRONY  259 

What  if  the  light  is  but  sun  and  the  little  streams  sing  not, 
We  are  together,  it  seems  ...  I  have  loved  you  so  ... 

What  did  the  last  night  hold,  with  the  summer  over, 
Drawing  us  back  to  the  home  in  the  changing  glade? 

What  leered  out  of  the  dark  in  the  ghostly  clover? 

God!  ...  till  you  stirred  in  your  sleep  .  .  .  and  were  wild 
afraid  .  .  . 

Well  ...  we  have  passed  ...  we  are  chronicle  now  to  the 
eerie. 

Curious  metal  from  meteors  that  failed  in  the  sky; 
Earth-born  the  tireless  is  stretched  by  the  water,  quite  weary, 

Close  to  this  ununderstandable  changeling  that's  I  ... 
Fear  is  an  echo  we  traced  to  Security's  daughter; 

Now  we  are  faces  and  voices  .  .  .  and  less,  too  soon, 
Whispering  half-love  over  the  lilt  of  the  water  .  .  . 

Youth  the  penny  that  bought  delight  of  the  moon." 

A  POEM  AMORY  SENT  TO  ELEANOR  AND  WHICH 
HE  CALLED  "SUMMER  STORM" 

"Faint  winds,  and  a  song  fading  and  leaves  falling, 
Faint  winds,  and  far  away  a  fading  laughter  ,  .  . 
And  the  rain  and  over  the  fields  a  voice  calling  .  .  . 

Our  gray  blown  cloud  scurries  and  lifts  above, 
Slides  on  the  sun  and  flutters  there  to  waft  her 
Sisters  on.    The  shadow  of  a  dove 
Falls  on  the  cote,  the  trees  are  filled  with  wings; 
And  down  the  valley  through  the  crying  trees 
The  body  of  the  darker  storm  flies;  brings 
With  its  new  air  the  breath  of  sunken  seas 
And  slender  tenuous  thunder  .  .  . 

But  I  wait  .  .  . 

Wait  for  the  mists  and  for  the  blacker  rain — 
Heavier  winds  that  stir  the  veil  of  fate, 
Happier  winds  that  pile  her  hair; 

Again 

They  tear  me,  teach  me,  strew  the  heavy  air 
Upon  me,  winds  that  I  know,  and  storm. 

There  was  a  summer  every  rain  was  rare; 
There  was  a  season  every  wind  was  warm.  .  .  •  „, 


26o  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

And  now  you  pass  me  in  the  mist  .  .  .  your  hair 
Rain-blown  about  you,  damp  lips  curved  once  more 
In  that  wild  irony,  that  gay  despair 
That  made  you  old  when  we  have  met  before; 
Wraith-like  you  drift  on  out  before  the  rain, 
Across  the  fields,  blown  with  the  stemless  flowers, 
With  your  old  hopes,  dead  leaves  and  loves  again- 
Dim  as  a  dream  and  wan  with  all  old  hours 
(Whispers  will  creep  into  the  growing  dark  .  .  . 
Tumult  will  die  over  the  trees) 

Now  night 

Tears  from  her  wetted  breast  the  splattered  blouse 
Of  day,  glides  down  the  dreaming  hills,  tear-bright, 
To  cover  with  her  hair  the  eerie  green  .  .  . 
Love  for  the  dusk  .  .  .  Love  for  the  glistening  after; 
Quiet  the  trees  to  their  last  tops  .  .  .  serene  .  .  . 

Faint  winds,  and  far  away  a  fading  laughter  .  ,.  ." 


CHAPTER  IV 

0 

THE  SUPERCILIOUS  SACRIFICE 

ATLANTIC  CITY.  Amory  paced  the  board  walk  at 
day's  end,  lulled  by  the  everlasting  surge  of  changing 
waves,  smelling  the  half-mournful  odor  of  the  salt 
breeze.  The  sea,  he  thought,  had  treasured  its  memories 
deeper  than  the  faithless  land.  It  seemed  still  to  whisper 
of  Norse  galleys  ploughing  the  water  world  under  raven- 
figured  flags,  of  the  British  dreadnoughts,  gray  bulwarks 
of  civilization  steaming  up  through  the  fog  of  one 
dark  July  into  the  North  Sea. 

"Well— Amory  Elaine!" 

Amory  looked  down  into  the  street,  below.  A  low 
racing  car  had  drawn  to  a  stop  and  a  familiar  cheerful 
face  protruded  from  the  driver's  seat. 

"Come  on  down,  goopher!"  cried  Alec. 

Amory  called  a  greeting  and  descending  a  flight  of 
wooden  steps  approached  the  car.  He  and  Alec  had 
been  meeting  intermittently,  but  the  barrier  of  Rosalind 
lay  always  between  them.  He  was  sorry  for  this;  he 
hated  to  lose  Alec. 

"Mr.  Elaine,  this  is  Miss  Waterson,  Miss  Wayne,  and 
Mr.  Tully." 

"How  d'y  do?" 

"Amory,"  said  Alec  exuberantly,  "if  you'll  jump  in 
we'll  take  you  to  some  secluded  nook  and  give  you  a  wee 
jolt  of  Bourbon." 

Amory  considered. 

"That's  an  idea." 

"Step  in — move  over,  Jill,  and  Amory  will  smile  very 
handsomely  at  you." 

261 


262  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Amory  squeezed  into  the  back  seat  beside  a  gaudy, 
vermilion-lipped  blonde. 

"Hello,  Doug  Fairbanks,"  she  said  flippantly.  "Walk-  „ 
ing  for  exercise  or  hunting  for  company?" 

"I  was  counting  the  waves,"  replied  Amory  gravely. 
"I'm  going  in  for  statistics." 

"Don't  kid  me,  Doug." 

When  they  reached  an  unfrequented  side  street  Alec 
stopped  the  car  among  deep  shadows. 

"What  you  doing  down  here  these  cold  days,  Amory?  " 
he  demanded,  as  he  produced  a  quart  of  Bourbon  from 
under  the  fur  rug. 

Amory  avoided  the  question.  Indeed,  he  had  had  no 
definite  reason  for  coming  to  the  coast. 

"Do  you  remember  that  party  of  ours,  sophomore 
year?"  he  asked  instead. 

"Do  I?  When  we  slept  in  the  pavilions  up  in  Asbury 
Park " 

"Lord,  Alec !  It's  hard  to  think  that  Jesse  and  Dick 
and  Kerry  are  all  three  dead." 

Alec  shivered. 

"Don't  talk  about  it.  These  dreary  fall  days  depress 
me  enough." 

Jill  seemed  to  agree. 

"Doug  here  is  sorta  gloomy  anyways,"  she  com-  , 
mented.    "Tell  him  to  drink  deep — it's  good  and  scarce 
these  days." 

"What  I  really  want  to  ask  you,  Amory,  is  where  you 
are " 

"Why,  New  York,  I  suppose " 

"I  mean  to-night,  because  if  you  haven't  got  a  room 
yet  you'd  better  help  me  out." 

"Glad  to." 

"You  see,  Tully  and  I  have  two  rooms  with  bath  be- 
tween at  the  Ranier,  and  he's  got  to  go  back  to  New 


THE  SUPERCILIOUS  SACRIFICE         263 

York.  I  don't  want  to  have  to  move.  Question  is, 
will  you  occupy  one  of  the  rooms?" 

Amory  was  willing,  if  he  could  get  in  right  away. 

"You'll  find  the  key  in  the  office;  the  rooms  are  in 
my  name." 

Declining  further  locomotion  or  further  stimulation, 
Amory  left  the  car  and  sauntered  back  along  the  board 
walk  to  the  hotel. 

He  was  in  an  eddy  again,  a  deep,  lethargic  gulf,  with- 
out desire  to  work  or  write,  love  or  dissipate.  For  the 
first  time  in  his  life  he  rather  longed  for  death  to  roll 
over  his  generation,  obliterating  their  petty  fevers  and 
struggles  and  exultations.  His  youth  seemed  never  so 
vanished  as  now  in  the  contrast  between  the  utter 
loneliness  of  this  visit  and  that  riotous,  joyful  party  of 
four  years  before.  Things  that  had  been  the  merest 
commonplaces  of  his  life  then,  deep  sleep,  the  sense  of 
beauty  around  him,  all  desire,  had  flown  away  and  the 
gaps  they  left  were  filled  only  with  the  great  listlessness 
of  his  disillusion. 

"To  hold  a  man  a  woman  has  to  appeal  to  the  worst 
in  him."  This  sentence  was  the  thesis  of  most  of  his 
bad  nights,  of  which  he  felt  this  was  to  be  one.  His  mind 
had  already  started  to  play  variations  on  the  subject. 
Tireless  passion,  fierce  jealousy,  longing  to  possess  and 
crush — these  alone  were  left  of  all  his  love  for  Rosalind; 
these  remained  to  him  as  payment  for  the  loss  of  his 
youth — bitter  calomel  under  the  thin  sugar  of  love's  ex- 
altation. 

In  his  room  he  undressed  and  wrapping  himself  in 
blankets  to  keep  out  the  chill  October  air  drowsed  in 
an  armchair  by  the  open  window. 

He  remembered  a  poem  he  had  read  months  before: 

"Oh  staunch  old  heart  who  toiled  so  long  for  me, 
I  waste  my  years  sailing  along  the  sea " 


264  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Yet  he  had  no  sense  of  waste,  no  sense  of  the  present 
hope  that  waste  implied.  He  felt  that  life  had  rejected 
him. 

"Rosalind !  Rosalind !"  He  poured  the  words  softly 
into  the  half-darkness  until  she  seemed  to  permeate  the 
room;  the  wet  salt  breeze  filled  his  hair  with  moisture, 
the  rim  of  a  moon  seared  the  sky  and  made  the  curtains 
dim  and  ghostly.  He  fell  asleep. 

When  he  awoke  it  was  very  late  and  quiet.  The 
blanket  had  slipped  partly  off  his  shoulders  and  he 
touched  his  skin 'to  find  it  damp  and  cold. 

Then  he  became  aware  of  a  tense  whispering  not  ten 
feet  away. 

He  became  rigid. 

"Don't  make  a  sound!"  It  was  Alec's  voice.  li Jill- 
do  you  hear  me?" 

"Yes — "  breathed  very  low,  very  frightened.  They 
were  in  the  bathroom. 

Then  his  ears  caught  a  louder  sound  from  somewhere 
along  the  corridor  outside.  It  was  a  mumbling  of  men's 
voices  and  a  repeated  muffled  rapping.  Amory  threw 
off  the  blankets  and  moved  close  to  the  bathroom 
door. 

"My  God!"  came  the  girl's  voice  again.  "You'll 
have  to  let  them  in." 

"Sh!" 

Suddenly  a  steady,  insistent  knocking  began  at 
Amory's  hall  door  and  simultaneously  out  of  the  bath- 
room came  Alec,  followed  by  the  vermilion-lipped  girl. 
They  were  both  clad  in  pajamas. 

"Amory!"  an  anxious  whisper. 

"What's  the  trouble?" 

"It's  house  detectives.  My  God,  Amory — they're 
just  looking  for  a  test-case " 

"Well,  better  let  them  in." 


THE  SUPERCILIOUS  SACRIFICE         265 

"You  don't  understand.  They  can  get  me  under  ths 
Mann  Act." 

The  girl  followed  him  slowly,  a  rather  miserable, 
pathetic  figure  in  the  darkness. 

Amory  tried  to  plan  quickly. 

"You  make  a  racket  and  let  them  in  your  room,"  he 
suggested  anxiously,  "and  I'll  get  her  out  by  this  door." 

"They're  here  too,  though.    They'll  watch  this  door." 

"Can't  you  give  a  wrong  name?" 

"No  chance.  I  registered  under  my  own  name;  be- 
sides, they'd  trail  the  auto  license  number." 

"Say  you're  married." 

"Jill  says  one  of  the  house  detectives  knows  her." 

The  girl  had  stolen  to  the  bed  and  tumbled  upon  it; 
lay  there  listening  wretchedly  to  the  knocking  which 
had  grown  gradually  to  a  pounding.  Then  came  a  man's 
voice,  angry  and  imperative: 

"Open  up  or  we'll  break  the  door  in!" 

In  the  silence  when  this  voice  ceased  Amory  realized 
that  there  were  other  things  in  the  room  besides  people 
.  .  .  over  and  around  the  figure  crouched  on  the  bed 
there  hung  an  aura,  gossamer  as  a  moonbeam,  tainted 
as  stale,  weak  wine,  yet  a  horror,  diffusively  brooding 
already  over  the  three  of  them  .  .  .  and  over  by  the 
window  among  the  stirring  curtains  stood  something 
else,  featureless  and  indistinguishable,  yet  strangely 
familiar.  .  .  .  Simultaneously  two  great  cases  presented 
themselves  side  by  side  to  Amory;  all  that  took  place  in 
his  mind,  then,  occupied  in  actual  time  less  than  ten 
seconds.  \ 

The  first  fact  that  flashed  radiantly  on  his  compre- 
hension was  the  great  impersonality  of  sacrifice — he 
perceived  that  what  we  call  love  and  hate,  reward  and 
punishment,  had  no  more  to  do  with  it  than  the  date 
of  the  month.  He  quickly  recapitulated  the  story  of  a 


266  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

sacrifice  he  had  heard  of  in  college:  a  man  had  cheated 
in  an  examination;  his  roommate  in  a  gust  of  sentiment 
had  taken  the  entire  blame — due  to  the  shame  of  it  the 
innocent  one's  entire  future  seemed  shrouded  in  regret 
and  failure,  capped  by  the  ingratitude  of  the  real  culprit. 
He  had  finally  taken  his  own  life — years  afterward  the 
facts  had  come  out.  At  the  time  the  story  had  both 
puzzled  and  worried  Amory.  Now  he  realized  the  truth; 
that  sacrifice  was  no  purchase  of  freedom.  It  was  like 
a  great  elective  office,  it  was  like  an  inheritance  of  power 
— to  certain  people  at  certain  times  an  essential  luxury, 
carrying  with  it  not  a  guarantee  but  a  responsibility, 
not  a  security  but  an  infinite  risk.  Its  very  momentum 
might  drag  him  down  to  ruin — the  passing  of  the  emo- 
tional wave  that  made  it  possible  might  leave  the  one 
who  made  it  high  and  dry  forever  on  an  island  of  despair. 

.  .  .  Amory  knew  that  afterward  Alec  would  secretly 
hate  him  for  having  done  so  much  for  him.  .  .  . 

...  All  this  was  flung  before  Amory  like  an  opened 
scroll,  while  ulterior  to  him  and  speculating  upon  him 
were  those  two  breathless,  listening  forces:  the  gossamer 
aura  that  hung  over  and  about  the  girl  and  that  familiar 
thing  by  the  window. 

Sacrifice  by  its  very  nature  was  arrogant  and  imper- 
sonal; sacrifice  should  be  eternally  supercilious. 

Weep  not  for  me  but  for  thy  children. 

That — thought  Amory — would  be  somehow  the  way 
God  would  talk  to  me. 

Amory  felt  a  sudden  surge  of  joy  and  then  like  a  face 
in  a  motion-picture  the  aura  over  the  bed  faded  out;  the 
dynamic  shadow  by  the  window,  that  was  as  near  as  he 
could  name  it,  remained  for  the  fraction  of  a  moment 
and  then  the  breeze  seemed  to  lift  it  swiftly  out  of  the 
room.  He  clinched  his  hands  in  quick  ecstatic  excite- 
ment .  .  .  the  ten  seconds  were  up.  .  .  . 


THE  SUPERCILIOUS  SACRIFICE         267 

"Do  what  I  say,  Alec — do  what  I  say.  Do  you  under- 
stand?" 

Alec  looked  at  him  dumbly — his  face  a  tableau  of  an- 
guish. 

"You  have  a  family,"  continued  Amory  slowly. 
"You  have  a  family  and  it's  important  that  you  should 
get  out  of  this.  Do  you  hear  me  ?  "  He  repeated  clearly 
what  he  had  said.  "Do  you  hear  me?" 

"I  hear  you."  The  voice  was  curiously  strained,  the 
eyes  never  for  a  second  left  Amory's. 

"Alec,  you're  going  to  lie  down  here.  If  any  one  comes 
in  you  act  drunk.  You  do  what  I  say — if  you  don't  I'll 
probably  kill  you." 

There  was  another  moment  while  they  stared  at  each 
other.  Then  Amory  went  briskly  to  the  bureau  and, 
taking  his  pocket-book,  beckoned  peremptorily  to  the 
girl.  He  heard  one  word  from  Alec  that  sounded  like 
"penitentiary,"  then  he  and  Jill  were  in  the  bathroom 
with  the  door  bolted  behind  them. 

"You're  here  with  me,"  he  said  sternly.  "You've  been 
with  me  all  evening." 

She  nodded,  gave  a  little  half  cry. 

In  a  second  he  had  the  door  of  the  other  room  open 
and  three  men  entered.  There  was  an  immediate  flood 
of  electric  light  and  he  stood  there  blinking. 

".You've  been  playing  a  little  too  dangerous  a  game, 
young  man ! " 

Amory  laughed. 

"Well?" 

The  leader  o*  the  trio  nodded  authoritatively  at  a 
burly  man  in  a  check  suit. 

"All  right,  Olson." 

"I  got  you,  Mr.  O'May,"  said  Olson,  nodding.  The 
other  two  took  a  curious  glance  at  their  quarry  and  then 
withdrew,  closing  the  door  angrily  behind  them. 


268  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

The  burly  man  regarded  Amory  contemptuously. 

"Didn't  you  ever  hear  of  the  Mann  Act?  Coming 
down  here  with  her,"  he  indicated  the  girl  with  his 
thumb,  "with  a  New  York  license  on  your  car — to  a 
hotel  like  this. "  He  shook  his  head  implying  that  he  had 
struggled  over  Amory  but  now  gave  him  up. 

"Well,"  said  Amory  rather  impatiently,  "what  do 
you  want  us  to  do?" 

"Get  dressed,  quick — and  tell  your  friend  not  to  make 
such  a  racket."  Jill  was  sobbing  noisily  on  the  bed,  but 
at  these  words  she  subsided  sulkily  and,  gathering  up  her 
clothes,  retired  to  the  bathroom.  As  Amory  slipped  into 
Alec's  B.  V.  D.'s  he  found  that  his  attitude  toward  the 
situation  was  agreeably  humorous.  The  aggrieved  virtue 
of  the  burly  man  made  him  want  to  laugh. 

"Anybody  else  here?"  demanded  Olson,  trying  to 
look  keen  and  ferret-like. 

"Fellow  who  had  the  rooms,"  said  Amory  carelessly. 
"He's  drunk  as  an  owl,  though.  Been  in  there  asleep 
since  six  o'clock." 

"I'll  take  a  look  at  him  presently." 

"How  did  you  find  out  ?  "  asked  Amory  curiously. 

"Night  clerk  saw  you  go  up-stairs  with  this  woman." 

Amory  nodded;  Jill  reappeared  from  the  bathroom, 
completely  if  rather  untidily  arrayed. 

"Now  then,"  began  Olson,  producing  a  note-book,  "I 
want  your  real  names — no  damn  John  Smith  or  Mary 
Brown." 

"Wait  a  minute,"  said  Amory  quietly.  "Just  drop 
that  big-bully  stuff.  We  merely  got  caught,  that's  all." 

Olson  glared  at  him. 

"Name?"  he  snapped. 

Amory  gave  his  name  and  New  York  address. 

"And  the  lady?" 

"Miss  Jill " 


THE  SUPERCILIOUS  SACRIFICE         269 

"Say,"  cried  Olson  indignantly,  "just  ease  up  on  the 
nursery  rhymes.  What's  your  name?  Sarah  Murphy? 
Minnie  Jackson?" 

"Oh.  my  God ! "  cried  the  girl  cupping  her  tear-stained 
face  in  her  hands.  "I  don't  want  my  mother  to  know. 
I  don't  want  my  mother  to  know." 

"Come  on  now!" 

"Shut  up !"  cried  Amory  at  Olson. 

An  instant's  pause. 

"Stella  Robbins,"  she  faltered  finally.  "General 
Delivery,  Rugway,  New  Hampshire." 

Olson  snapped  his  note-book  shut  and  looked  at  them 
very  ponderously. 

"By  rights  the  hotel  could  turn  the  evidence  over  to 
the  police  and  you'd  go  to  penitentiary,  you  would,  for 
bringin'  a  girl  from  one  State  to  'nother  f'r  immoral  pur- 
p'ses  " — he  paused  to  let  the  majesty  of  his  words  sink 
in.  "But — the  hotel  is  going  to  let  you  off." 

"It  doesn't  want  to  get  in  the  papers,"  cried  Jill 
fiercely.  "Let  us  off!  Huh!" 

A  great  lightness  surrounded  Amory.  He  realized  that 
he  was  safe  and  only  then  did  he  appreciate  the  full 
enormity  of  what  he  might  have  incurred. 

"However,"  continued  Olson,  "there's  a  protective 
association  among  the  hotels.  There's  been  too  much  of 
this  stuff,  and  we  got  a  'rangement  with  the  newspapers 
so  that  you  get  a  little  free  publicity.  Not  the  name  of 
the  hotel,  but  just  a  line  sayin'  that  you  had  a  little 
trouble  in  'lantic  City.  See?" 

"I  see." 

"You're  gettin'  off  light— damn  light— but " 

"Come  on,"  said  Amory  briskly.  "Let's  get  out  of 
here.  We  don't  need  a  valedictory." 

Olson  walked  through  the  bathroom  and  took  a  cur- 
sory glance  at  Alec's  still  form.  Then  he  extinguished  the 


270  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

lights  and  motioned  them  to  follow  him.  As  they  walked 
into  the  elevator  Amory  considered  a  piece  of  bravado — 
yielded  finally.  He  reached  out  and  tapped  Olson  on  the 
arm. 

"Would  you  mind  taking  off  your  hat?  There's  a 
lady  in  the  elevator." 

Olson's  hat  came  off  slowly.  There  was  a  rather  em- 
barrassing two  minutes  under  the  lights  of  the  lobby 
while  the  night  clerk  and  a  few  belated  guests  stared  at 
them  curiously;  the  loudly  dressed  girl  with  bent  head, 
the  handsome  young  man  with  his  chin  several  points 
aloft;  the  inference  was  quite  obvious.  Then  the  chill 
outdoors — where  the  salt  air  was  fresher  and  keener 
still  with  the  first  hints  of  morning. 

"You  can  get  one  of  those  taxis  and  beat  it,"  said 
Olson,  pointing  to  the  blurred  outline  of  two  machines 
whose  drivers  were  presumably  asleep  inside. 

"Good-by,"  said  Olson.  He  reached  in  his  pocket 
suggestively,  but  Amory  snorted,  and,  taking  the  girl's 
arm,  turned  away. 

"Where  did  you  tell  the  driver  to  go?"  she  asked  as 
they  whirled  along  the  dim  street. 

"The  station." 

"If  that  guy  writes  my  mother " 

"He  won't.  Nobody'll  ever  know  about  this — except 
our  friends  and  enemies." 

Dawn  was  breaking  over  the  sea. 

"It's  getting  blue,"  she  said. 

"It  does  very  well,"  agreed  Amory  critically,  and 
then  as  an  after- thought:  "It's  almost  breakfast- time — 
do  you  want  something  to  eat?" 

"Food — "  she  said  with  a  cheerful  laugh.  "Food  is 
what  queered  the  party.  We  ordered  a  big  supper  to 
be  sent  up  to  the  room  about  two  o'clock.  Alec  didn't 


THE  SUPERCILIOUS  SACRIFICE         271 

give  the  -waiter  a  tip,  so  I  guess  the  little  bastard 
snitched." 

Jill's  low  spirits  seemed  to  have  gone  faster  than  the 
scattering  night.  "Let  me  tell  you,"  she  said  emphat- 
ically, "when  you  want  to  stage  that  sorta  party  stay 
away  from  liquor,  and  when  you  want  to  get  tight  stay 
away  from  bedrooms." 

"I'll  remember." 

He  tapped  suddenly  at  the  glass  and  they  drew  up  at 
the  door  of  an  all-night  restaurant. 

"Is  Alec  a  great  friend  of  yours?"  asked  Jill  as  they 
perched  themselves  on  high  stools  inside,  and  set  their 
elbows  on  the  dingy  counter. 

"He  used  to  be.  He  probably  won't  want  to  be  any 
more — and  never  "understand  why." 

"It  was  sorta  crazy  you  takin'  all  that  blame.  Is  he 
pretty  important?  Kinda  more  important  than  you 
are?" 

Amory  laughed. 

"That  remains  to  be  seen,"  he  answered.  "Tttat's 
the  question." 

THE  COLLAPSE  OF  SEVERAL  PILLARS 

Two  days  later  back  in  New  York  Amory  found  in  a 
newspaper  what  he  had  been  searching  for — a  dc«en 
lines  which  announced  to  whom  it  might  concern  that 
Mr.  Amory  Elaine,  who  "gave  his  address"  as,  etc.,  had 
been  requested  to  leave  his  hotel  in  Atlantic  City  be- 
cause of  entertaining  in  his  room  a  lady  not  his  wife. 

Then  he  started,  and  his  ringers  trembled,  for  directly 
above  was  a  longer  paragraph  of  which  the  first  words 
were: 

"Mr.  and  Mrs.  Leland  R.  Connage  are  announcing 


272  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

the  engagement  of  their  daughter,  Rosalind,  to  Mr.  J. 
Dawson  Ryder,  of  Hartford,  Connecticut — 

He  dropped  the  paper  and  lay  down  on  his  bed  with  a 
frightened,  sinking  sensation  in  the  pit  of  his  stomach. 
She  was  gone,  definitely,  finally  gone.  Until  now  he  had 
half  unconsciously  cherished  the  hope  deep  in  his  heart 
that  some  day  she  would  need  him  and  send  for  him, 
cry  that  it  had  been  a  mistake,  that  her  heart  ached  only 
for  the  pain  she  had  caused  him.  Never  again  could  he 
find  even  the  sombre  luxury  of  wanting  her — not  this 
Rosalind,  harder,  older — nor  any  beaten,  broken  woman 
that  his  imagination  brought  to  the  door  of  his  forties — 
Amory  had  wanted  her  youth,  the  fresh  radiance  of  her 
mind  and  body,  the  stuff  that  she  was  selling  now  once 
and  for  all.  So  far  as  he  was  concerned,  young  Rosalind 
was  dead. 

A  day  later  came  a  crisp,  terse  letter  from  Mr.  Barton 
in  Chicago,  which  informed  him  that  as  three  more 
street-car  companies  had  gone  into  the  hands  of  receivers 
he  could  expect  for  the  present  no  further  remittances. 
Last  of  all,  on  a  dazed  Sunday  night,  a  telegram  told 
him  of  Monsignor  Darcy's  sudden  death  in  Philadelphia 
five  days  before. 

He  knew  then  what  it  was  that  he  had  perceived  among 
the  curtains  of  the  room  in  Atlantic  City. 


CHAPTER  V 
THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE 

"A  fathom  deep  in  sleep  I  lie 

With  old  desires,  restrained  before, 
To  clamor  lifeward  with  a  cry, 

As  dark  flies  out  the  greying  door; 
And  so  in  quest  of  creeds  to  share 

I  seek  assertive  day  again  .  .  . 
But  old  monotony  is  there: 

Endless  avenues  of  rain. 

Oh,  might  I  rise  again  I    Might  I 

Throw  of  the  heat  of  that  old  wine, 
See  the  new  morning  mass  the  sky 

With  fairy  towers,  line  on  line; 
Find  each  mirage  in  the  high  air 

A  symbol,  not  a  dream  again  .  .  . 
But  old  monotony  is  there : 

Endless  avenues  of  rain.'' 

UNDER  the  glass  portcullis  of  a  theatre  Amory  stood, 
watching  the  first  great  drops  of  rain  splatter  down  and 
flatten  to  dark  stains  on  the  sidewalk.  The  air  became 
gray  and  opalescent;  a  solitary  light  suddenly  outlined 
a  window  over  the  way;  then  another  light;  then  a 
hundred  more  danced  and  glimmered  into  vision. 
Under  his  feet  a  thick,  iron-studded  skylight  turned 
yellow;  in  the  street  the  lamps  of  the  taxi-cabs  sent  out 
glistening  sheens  along  the  already  black  pavement. 
The  unwelcome  November  rain  had  perversely  stolen 
the  day's  last  hour  and  pawned  it  with  that  ancient 
fence,  the  night. 

The  silence  of  the  theatre  behind  him  ended  with  a 
curious  snapping  sound,  followed  by  the  heavy  roaring 

273 


274  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

of  a  rising  crowd  and  the  interlaced  clatter  of  many 
voices.  The  matinee  was  over. 

He  stood  aside,  edged  a  little  into  the  rain  to  let  the 
throng  pass.  A  small  boy  rushed  out,  sniffed  in  the 
damp,  fresh  air  and  turned  up  the  collar  of  his  coat; 
came  three  or  four  couples  in  a  great  hurry;  came  a 
further  scattering  of  people  whose  eyes  as  they  emerged 
glanced  invariably,  first  at  the  wet  street,  then  at  the 
rain-filled  air,  finally  at  the  dismal  sky;  last  a  dense, 
strolling  mass  that  depressed  him  with  its  heavy  odor 
compounded  of  the  tobacco  smell  of  the  men  and  the 
fetid  sensuousness  of  stale  powder  on  women.  After 
the  thick  crowd  came  another  scattering;  a  stray  half- 
dozen;  a  man  on  crutches;  finally  the  rattling  bang  of 
folding  seats  inside  announced  that  the  ushers  were  at 
work. 

New  York  seemed  not  so  much  awakening  as  turning 
over  in  its  bed.  Pallid  men  rushed  by,  pinching  together 
their  coat-collars;  a  great  swarm  of  tired,  magpie  girls 
from  a  department-store  crowded  along  with  shrieks  of 
strident  laughter,  three  to  an  umbrella;  a  squad  of 
marching  policemen  passed,  already  miraculously  pro- 
tected by  oilskin  capes. 

The  rain  gave  Amory  a  feeling  of  detachment,  and  the 
numerous  unpleasant  aspects  of  city  life  without  money 
occurred  to  him  in  threatening  procession.  There  was 
the  ghastly,  stinking  crush  of  the  subway — the  car  cards 
thrusting  themselves  at  one,  leering  out  like  dull  bores 
who  grab  your  arm  with  another  story;  the  querulous 
worry  as  to  whether  some  one  isn't  leaning  on  you;  a 
man  deciding  not  to  give  his  seat  to  a  woman,  hating  her 
for  it;  the  woman  hating  him  for  not  doing  it;  at  worst 
a* squalid  phantasmagoria  of  breath,  and  old  cloth  on 
human  bodies  and  the  smells  of  the  food  men  ate — at 
best  just  people — too  hot  or  too  cold,  tired,  worried. 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     275 

He  pictured  the  rooms  where  these  people  lived — 
where  the  patterns  of  the  blistered  wall-papers  were 
heavy  reiterated  sunflowers  on  green  and  yellow  back- 
grounds, where  there  were  tin  bathtubs  and  gloomy 
hallways  and  verdureless,  unnamable  spaces  in  back  of 
the  buildings;  where  even  love  dressed  as  seduction — a 
sordid  murder  around  the  corner,  illicit  motherhood  in, 
the  flat  above.  And  always  there  was  the  economical^ 
stuffiness  of  indoor  winter,  and  the  long  summers, 
nightmares  of  perspiration  between  sticky  enveloping 
walls  .  .  .  dirty  restaurants  where  careless,  tired  peo- 
ple helped  themselves  to  sugar  with  their  own  used 
coffee-spoons,  leaving  hard  brown  deposits  in  the  bowl. 

It  was  not  so  bad  where  there  were  only  men  or  else 
only  women;  it  was  when  they  were  vilely  herded  that  it 
all  seemed  so  rotten.  It  was  some  shame  that  women 
gave  off  at  having  men  see  them  tired  and  poor — it  was 
some  disgust  that  men  had  for  women  who  were  tired 
and  poor.  It  was  dirtier  than  any  battle-field  he  had 
seen,  harder  to  contemplate  than  any  actual  hardship 
moulded  of  mire  and  sweat  and  danger,  it  was  an  atmos- 
phere wherein  birth  and  marriage  and  death  were 
loathsome,  secret  things. 

He  remembered  one  day  in  the  subway  when  a  de- 
livery boy  had  brought  in  a  great  funeral  wreath  of  fresh 
flowers,  how  the  smell  of  it  had  suddenly  cleared  the  air 
and  given  every  one  in  the  car  a  momentary  glow. 

"I  detest  poor  people,"  thought  Amory  suddenly. 
"I  hate  them  for  being  poor.  Poverty  may  have  been 
beautiful  once,  but  it's  rotten  now.  It's  the  ugliest 
thing  in  the  world.  It's  essentially  cleaner  to  be  cor- 
rupt and  rich  than  it  is  to  be  innocent  and  poor."  He 
seemed  to  see  again  a  figure  whose  significance  had  once 
impressed  him — a  well-dressed  young  man  gazing  from 
a  club  window  on  Fifth  Avenue  and  saying  something 


276  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

to  his  companion  with  a  look  of  utter  disgust.  Prob- 
ably, thought  Amory,  what  he  said  was:  "My  God! 
Aren't  people  horrible ! " 

Never  before  in  his  life  had  Amory  considered  poor 
people.  He  thought  cynically  how  completely  he  was 
lacking  in  all  human  sympathy.  O.  Henry  had  found 
in  these  people  romance,  pathos,  love,  hate — Amory 
saw  only  coarseness,  physical  filth,  and  stupidity.  He 
made  no  self-accusations:  never  any  more  did  he  re- 
proach himself  for  feelings  that  were  natural  and  sin- 
cere. He  accepted  all  his  reactions  as  a  part  of  him, 
unchangeable,  unmoral.  This  problem  of  poverty  trans- 
formed, magnified,  attached  to  some  grander,  more 
dignified  attitude  might  some  day  even  be  his  problem; 
at  present  it  roused  only  his  profound  distaste. 

He  walked  over  to  Fifth  Avenue,  dodging  the  blind, 
black  menace  of  umbrellas,  and  standing  in  front  of 
Delmonico's  hailed  an  auto-bus.  Buttoning  his  coat 
closely  around  him  he  climbed  to  the  roof,  where  he  rode 
in  solitary  state  through  the  thin,  persistent  rain,  stung 
into  alertness  by  the  cool  moisture  perpetually  reborn 
on  his  cheek.  Somewhere  in  his  mind  a  conversation 
began,  rather  resumed  its  place  in  his  attention.  It  was 
composed  not  of  two  voices,  but  of  one,  which  acted  alike 
as  questioner  and  answerer: 

Question.-~^We]l — what's  the  situation? 

Answer. — That  I  have  about  twenty-four  dollars  to 
my  name. 

Q. — You  have  the  Lake  Geneva  estate. 

A. — But  I  intend  to  keep  it. 

Q. — Can  you  live? 

A. — I  can't  imagine  not  being  able  to.  People  make 
money  in  books  and  I've  found  that  I  can  always  do  the 
things  that  people  do  in  books.  Really  they  are  the  only 
things  I  can  do. 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     277 

Q. — Be  definite. 

A. — I  don't  know  what  I'll  do — nor  have  I  much 
curiosity.  To-morrow  I'm  going  to  leave  New  York  for 
good.  It's  a  bad  town  unless  you're  on  top  of  it. 

Q. — Do  you  want  a  lot  of  money  ? 

A. — No.    I  am  merely  afraid  of  being  poor. 

Q. — Very  afraid  ? 

A. — Just  passively  afraid. 

Q. — Where  are  you  drifting? 

A. — Don't  ask  me! 

Q. — Don't  you  care? 

A. — Rather.    I  don't  want  to  commit  moral  suicide. 

Q. — Have  you  no  interests  left? 

A. — None.  I've  no  more  virtue  to  lose.  Just  as  a 
cooling  pot  gives  off  heat,  so  all  through  youth  and 
adolescence  we  give  off  calories  of  virtue.  That's  what's 
called  ingenuousness. 

Q. — An  interesting  idea. 

A. — That's  why  a  "good  man  going  wrong"  attracts 
people.  They  stand  around  and  literally  warm  them- 
selves at  the  calories  of  virtue  he  gives  off.  Sarah  makes 
an  unsophisticated  remark  and  the  faces  simper  in  de- 
light— "How  innocent  the  poor  child  is!"  They're 
warming  themselves  at  her  virtue.  But  Sarah  sees  the 
simper  and  never  makes  that  remark  again.  Only  she 
feels  a  little  colder  after  that. 

Q. — All  your  calories  gone? 

A. — All  of  them.  I'm  beginning  to  warm  myself  at 
other  people's  virtue. 

Q. — Are  you  corrupt? 

A. — I  think  so.  I'm  not  sure.  I'm  not  sure  about 
good  and  evil  at  all  any  more. 

Q, — Is  that  a  bad  sign  in  itself? 

A . — Not  necessarily. 

Q. — What  would  be  the  test  of  corruption? 


278  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

A. — Becoming  really  insincere — calling  myself  "not 
such  a  bad  fellow,"  thinking  I  regretted  my  lost  youth 
when  I  only  envy  the  delights  of  losing  it.  Youth  is 
like  having  a  big  plate  of  candy.  Sentimentalists  think 
they  want  to  be  in  the  pure,  simple  state  they  were  in 
before  they  ate  the  candy.  They  don't.  They  just 
want  the  fun  of  eating  it  all  over  again.  The  matron 
doesn't  want  to  repeat  her  girlhood — she  wants  to  repeat 
her  honeymoon.  I  don't  want  to  repeat  my  innocence. 
I  want  the  pleasure  of  losing  it  again. 

Q. — Where  are  you  drifting? 

This  dialogue  merged  grotesquely  into  his  mind's 
most  familiar  state — a  grotesque  blending  of  desires, 
worries,  exterior  impressions  and  physical  reactions. 

One  Hundred  and  Twenty-seventh  Street — or  One 
Hundred  and  Thirty-seventh  Street.  .  .  .  Two  and 
three  look  alike — no,  not  much.  Seat  damp  .  .  .  are 
clothes  absorbing  wetness  from  seat,  or  seat  absorbing 
dryness  from  clothes?  .  .  .  Sitting  on  wet  substance 
gave  appendicitis,  so  Froggy  Parker's  mother  said. 
Well,  he'd  had  it — I'll  sue  the  steamboat  company, 
Beatrice  said,  and  my  uncle  has  a  quarter  interest — did 
Beatrice  go  to  heaven?  .  .  .  probably  not —  He  rep- 
resented Beatrice's  immortality,  also  love-affairs  of 
numerous  dead  men  who  surely  had  never  thought  of 
him  ...  if  it  wasn't  appendicitis,  influenza  maybe. 
What?  One  Hundred  and  Twentieth  Street?  That 
must  have  been  One  Hundred  and  Twelfth  back  there. 
One  O  Two  instead  of  One  Two  Seven.  Rosalind  not 
like  Beatrice,  Eleanor  like  Beatrice,  only  wilder  and 
brainier.  Apartments  along  here  expensive — probably 
hundred  and  fifty  a  month — maybe  two  hundred. 
Uncle  had  only  paid  hundred  a  month  for  whole  great 
big  house  in  Minneapolis.  Question — were  the  stairs 
on  the  left  or  right  as  you  came  in?  Anyway,  in  12 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     279 

Univee  they  were  straight  back  and  to  the  left.  What 
a  dirty  river — want  to  go  down  there  and  see  if  it's 
dirty — French  rivers  all  brown  or  black,  so  were  South- 
ern rivers.  Twenty-four  dollars  meant  four  hundred  and 
eighty  doughnuts.  He  could  live  on  it  three  months  and 
sleep  in  the  park.  Wonder  where  Jill  was — Jill  Bayne, 
Fayne,  Sayne — what  the  devil — neck  hurts,  darned  un- 
comfortable seat.  No  desire  to  sleep  with  Jill,  what 
could  Alec  see  in  her  ?  Alec  had  a  coarse  taste  in  women. 
Own  taste  the  best;  Isabelle,  Clara,  Rosalind,  Eleanor, 
were  all-American.  Eleanor  would  pitch,  probably 
southpaw.  Rosalind  was  outfield,  wonderful  hitter, 
Clara  first  base,  maybe.  Wonder  what  Humbird's  body 
looked  like  now.  If  he  himself  hadn't  been  bayonet 
instructor  he'd  have  gone  up  to  line  three  months 
sooner,  probably  been  killed.  Where's  the  darned 
bell 

The  street  numbers  of  Riverside  Drive  were  obscured 
by  the  mist  and  dripping  trees  from  anything  but  the 
swiftest  scrutiny,  but  Amory  had  finally  caught  sight  of 
one — One  Hundred  and  Twenty-seventh  Street.  He  got 
off  and  with  no  distinct  destination  followed  a  winding, 
descending  sidewalk  and  came  out  facing  the  river,  in 
particular  a  long  pier  and  a  partitioned  litter  of  ship- 
yards for  miniature  craft:  small  launches,  canoes,  row- 
boats,  and  catboats.  He  turned  northward  and  fol- 
lowed the  shore,  jumped  a  small  wire  fence  and  found 
himself  in  a  great  disorderly  yard  adjoining  a  dock. 
The  hulls  of  many  boats  in  various  stages  of  repair 
were  around  him;  he  smelled  sawdust  and  paint  and  the 
scarcely  distinguishable  flat  odor  of  the  Hudson.  A 
man  approached  through  the  heavy  gloom. 

"Hello,"  said  Amory. 

"Got  a  pass?" 

"No.    Is  this  private?" 


28o  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"This  is  the  Hudson  River  Sporting  and  Yacht 
Club." 

"Oh !    I  didn't  know.    I'm  just  resting." 

"Well — "  began  the  man  dubiously. 

"I'll  go  if  you  want  me  to." 

The  man  made  non-committal  noises  in  his  throat 
and  passed  on.  Amory  seated  himself  on  an  overturned 
boat  and  leaned  forward  thoughtfully  until  his  chin 
rested  in  his  hand. 

"Misfortune  is  liable  to  make  me  a  damn  bad 
man,"  he  said  slowly. 

IN  THE  DROOPING  HOURS 

While  the  rain  drizzled  on  Amory  looked  futilely  back 
at  the  stream  of  his  life,  all  its  glitterings  and  dirty 
shallows.  To  begin  with,  he  was  still  afraid — not  phys- 
ically afraid  any  more,  but  afraid  of  people  and  prejudice 
and  misery  and  monotony.  Yet,  deep  in  his  bitter  heart, 
he  wondered  if  he  was  after  all  worse  than  this  man  or 
the  next.  He  knew  that  he  could  sophisticate  himself 
finally  into  saying  that  his  own  weakness  was  just  the 
result  of  circumstances  and  environment;  that  often 
when  he  raged  at  himself  as  an  egotist  something  would 
whisper  ingratiatingly:  "No.  Genius!"  That  was  one 
manifestation  of  fear,  that  voice  which  whispered  that 
he  could  not  be  both  great  and  good,  that  genius  was 
the  exact  combination  of  those  inexplicable  grooves  and 
twists  in  his  mind,  that  any  discipline  would  curb  it  to 
mediocrity.  Probably  more  than  any  concrete  vice  or 
failing  Amory  despised  his  own  personality — he  loathed 
knowing  that  to-morrow  and  the  thousand  days  after 
he  would  swell  pompously  at  a  compliment  and  sulk  at 
an  ill  word  like  a  third-rate  musician  or  a  first-class 
actor.  He  was  ashamed  of  the  fact  that  very  simple 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     281 

and  honest  people  usually  distrusted  him;  that  he  had 
been  cruel,  often,  to  those  who  had  sunk  their  per- 
sonalities in  him — several  girls,  and  a  man  here  and  there 
through  college,  that  he  had  been  an  evil  influence  on; 
people  who  had  followed  him  here  and  there  into  mental 
adventures  from  which  he  alone  rebounded  unscathed. 
Usually,  on  nights  like  this,  for  there  had  been  many 
lately,  he  could  escape  from  this  consuming  introspec- 
tion by  thinking  of  children  and  the  infinite  possibilities 
of  children — he  leaned  and  listened  and  he  heard  a 
startled  baby  awake  in  a  house  across  the  street  and 
lend  a  tiny  whimper  to  the  still  night.  Quick  as  a  flash 
he  turned  away,  wondering  with  a  touch  of  panic  whether 
something  in  the  brooding  despair  of  his  mood  had  made 
a  darkness  in  its  tiny  soul.  He  shivered.  What  if  some 
day  the  balance  was  overturned,  and  he  became  a  thing 
that  frightened  children  and  crept  into  rooms  in  the 
dark,  approached  dim  communion  with  those  phantoms 
who  whispered  shadowy  secrets  to  the  mad  of  that  dark 
continent  upon  the  moon.  .  .  . 

Amory  smiled  a  bit. 

"You're  too  much  wrapped  up  in  yourself,"  he  heard 
some  one  say.    And  again 


"Get  out  and  do  some  real  work " 

"Stop  worrying " 

He  fancied  a  possible  future  comment  of  his  own. 

"Yes — I  was  perhaps  an  egotist  in  youth,  but  I  soon 
found  it  made  me  morbid  to  think  too  much  about  my- 
self." 

Suddenly  he  felt  an  overwhelming  desire  to  let  him- 
self go  to  the  devil — not  to  go  violently  as  a  gentleman 
should,  but  to  sink  safely  and  sensuously  out  of  sight. 
He  pictured  himself  in  an  adobe  house  in  Mexico,  half- 


282  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

reclining  on  a  rug-covered  couch,  his  slender,  artistic 
fingers  closed  on  a  cigarette  while  he  listened  to  guitars 
strumming  melancholy  undertones  to  an  age-old  dirge 
of  Castile  and  an  olive-skinned,  carmine-lipped  girl 
caressed  his  hair.  Here  he  might  live  a  strange  litany, 
delivered  from  right  and  wrong  and  from  the  hound  of 
heaven  and  from  every  God  (except  the  exotic  Mexican 
one  who  was  pretty  slack  himself  and  rather  addicted  to 
Oriental  scents) — delivered  from  success  and  hope  and 
poverty  into  that  long  chute  of  indulgence  which  led, 
after  all,  only  to  the  artificial  lake  of  death. 

There  were  so  many  places  where  one  might  deterio- 
rate pleasantly:  Port  Said,  Shanghai,  parts  of  Turkes- 
tan, Constantinople,  the  South  Seas— all  lands  of  sad, 
haunting  music  and  many  odors,  where  lust  could  be  a 
mode  and  expression  of  life,  where  the  shades  of  night 
skies  and  sunsets  would  seem  to  reflect  only  moods  of 
passion:  the  colors  of  lips  and  poppies. 

STILL  WEEDING 

Once  he  had  been  miraculously  able  to  scent  evil  as  a 
horse  detects  a  broken  bridge  at  night,  but  the  man  with 
the  queer  feet  in  Phoebe's  room  had  diminished  to  the 
aura  over  Jill.  His  instinct  perceived  the  fetidness  of 
poverty,  but  no  longer  ferreted  out  the  deeper  evils  hi 
pride  and  sensuality. 

There  were  no  more  wise  men;  there  were  no  more 
heroes;  Burne  Holiday  was  sunk  from  sight  as  though 
he  had  never  lived;  Monsignor  was  dead.  Amory  had 
grown  up  to  a  thousand  books,  a  thousand  lies;  he  had 
listened  eagerly  to  people  who  pretended  to  know,  who 
knew  nothing.  The  mystical  reveries  of  saints  that  had 
once  filled  him  with  awe  in  the  still  hours  of  night,  now 
vaguely  repelled  him.  The  Byrons  and  Brookes  who 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     283 

had  defied  life  from  mountain  tops  were  in  the  end  but 
flaneurs  and  poseurs,  at  best  mistaking  the  shadow  of 
courage  for  the  substance  of  wisdom.  The  pageantry  of 
his  disillusion  took  shape  in  a  world-old  procession  of 
Prophets,  Athenians,  Martyrs,  Saints,  Scientists,  Don 
Juans,  Jesuits,  Puritans,  Fausts,  Poets,  Pacifists;  like 
costumed  alumni  at  a  college  reunion  they  streamed  be- 
fore him  as  their  dreams,  personalities,  and  creeds  had 
in  turn  thrown  colored  lights  on  his  soul;  each  had  tried 
to  express  the  glory  of  life  and  the  tremendous  sig- 
nificance of  man;  each  had  boasted  of  synchronizing 
what  had  gone  before  into  his  own  rickety  generalities; 
each  had  depended  after  all  on  the  set  stage  and  the 
convention  of  the  theatre,  which  is  that  man  in  his 
hunger  for  faith  will  feed  his  mind  with  the  nearest  and 
most  convenient  food. 

Women — of  whom  he  had  expected  so  much;  whose 
beauty  he  had  hoped  to  transmute  into  modes  of  art; 
whose  unfathomable  instincts,  marvellously  incoherent 
and  inarticulate,  he  had  thought  to  perpetuate  in  terms 
of  experience — had  become  merely  consecrations  to  then- 
own  posterity.  Isabelle,  Clara,  Rosalind,  Eleanor,  were 
all  removed  by  their  very  beauty,  around  which  men 
had  swarmed,  from  the  possibility  of  contributing  any- 
thing but  a  sick  heart  and  a  page  of  puzzled  words  to 
write. 

Amory  based  his  loss  of  faith  in  help  from  others  on 
several  sweeping  syllogisms.  Granted  that  his  genera- 
tion, however  bruised  and  decimated  from  this  Vic- 
torian war,  were  the  heirs  of  progress.  Waving  aside 
petty  differences  of  conclusions  which,  although  they 
might  occasionally  cause  the  deaths  of  several  millions 
of  young  men,  might  be  explained  away — supposing  that 
after  all  Bernard  Shaw  and  Bernhardi,  Bonar  Law  and 
Bethmann-Hollweg  were  mutual  heirs  of  progress  if  only 


284  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

in  agreeing  against  the  ducking  of  witches — waiving  the 
antitheses  and  approaching  individually  these  men  who 
seemed  to  be  the  leaders,  he  was  repelled  by  the  dis- 
crepancies and  contradictions  in  the  men  themselves. 

There  was,  for  example,  Thornton  Hancock,  respected 
by  half  the  intellectual  world  as  an  authority  on  life,  a 
man  who  had  verified  and  believed  the  code  he  lived  by, 
an  educator  of  educators,  an  adviser  to  Presidents — 
yet  Amory  knew  that  this  man  had,  in  his  heart,  leaned 
on  the  priest  of  another  religion. 

And  Monsignor,  upon  whom  a  cardinal  rested,  had 
moments  of  strange  and  horrible  insecurity — inexplicable 
in  a  religion  that  explained  even  disbelief  in  terms  of  its 
own  faith:  if  you  doubted  the  devil  it  was  the  devil  that 
made  you  doubt  him.  Amory  had  seen  Monsignor  go 
to  the  houses  of  stolid  philistines,  read  popular  novels 
furiously,  saturate  himself  in  routine,  to  escape  from 
that  horror. 

And  this  priest,  a  little  wiser,  somewhat  purer,  had 
been,  Amory  knew,  not  essentially  older  than  he. 

Amory  was  alone — he  had  escaped  from  a  small  en- 
closure into  a  great  labyrinth.  He  was  where  Goethe 
was  when  he  began  ".Faust";  he  was  where  Conrad  was 
when  he  wrote  "Almayer's  Folly." 

Amory  said  to  himself  that  there  were  essentially  two 
sorts  of  people  who  through  natural  clarity  or  disil- 
lusion left  the  enclosure  and  sought  the  labyrinth. 
There  were  men  like  Wells  and  Plato,  who  had,  half  un- 
consciously, a  strange,  hidden  orthodoxy,  who  would 
accept  for  themselves  only  what  could  be  accepted  for 
all  men — incurable  romanticists  who  never,  for  all  their 
efforts,  could  enter  the  labyrinth  as  stark  souls;  there 
were  on  the  other  hand  sword-like  pioneering  personali- 
ties, Samuel  Butler,  Renan,  Voltaire,  who  progressed 
much  slower,  yet  eventually  much  further,  not  in  the 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     285 

direct  pessimistic  line  of  speculative  philosophy  but  con- 
cerned in  the  eternal  attempt  to  attach  a  positive  value 
to  life.  .  .  . 

Amory  stopped.  He  began  for  the  first  time  in  his 
life  to  have  a  strong  distrust  of  all  generalities  and  epi- 
grams. They  were  too  easy,  too  dangerous  to  the  public 
mind.  Yet  all  thought  usually  reached  the  public  after 
thirty  years  in  some  such  form:  Benson  and  Chesterton 
had  popularized  Huysmans  and  Newman;  Shaw  had 
sugar-coated  Nietzsche  and  Ibsen  and  Schopenhauer. 
The  man  in  the  street  heard  the  conclusions  of  dead 
genius  through  some  one  else's  clever  paradoxes  and 
didactic  epigrams. 

Life  was  a  damned  muddle  ...  a  football  game  with 
every  one  off-side  and  the  referee  gotten  rid  of — every 
one  claiming  the  referee  would  have  been  on  his 
side.  .  . . 

Progress  was  a  labyrinth  .  .  .  people  plunging  blindly 
in  and  then  rushing  wildly  back,  shouting  that  they  had 
found  it  ...  the  invisible  king — the  elan  vital — the 
principle  of  evolution  .  .  .  writing  a  book,  starting  a 
war,  founding  a  school.  .  .  . 

Amory,  even  had  he  not  been  a  selfish  man,  would 
have  started  all  inquiries  with  himself.  He  was  his 
own  .best  example — sitting  in  the  rain,  a  human  creature 
of  sex  and  pride,  foiled  by  chance  and  his  own  tempera- 
ment of  the  balm  of  love  and  children,  preserved  to  help 
in  building  up  the  living  consciousness  of  the  race. 

In  self-reproach  and  loneliness  and  disillusion  he  came 
to  the  entrance  of  the  labyrinth. 

Another  dawn  flung  itself  across  the  river;  a  belated 
taxi  hurried  along  the  street,  its  lamps  still  shining  like 
burning  eyes  in  a  face  white  from  a  night's  carouse.  A 
melancholy  siren  sounded  far  down  the  river. 


286 


THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 


MONSIGNOR 

Amory  kept  thinking  how  Monsignor  would  have  en- 
joyed his  own  funeral.  It  was  magnificently  Catholic 
and  liturgical.  Bishop  O'Neill  sang  solemn  high  mass 
and  the  cardinal  gave  the  final  absolutions.  Thornton 
Hancock,  Mrs.  Lawrence,  the  British  and  Italian  am- 
bassadors, the  papal  delegate,  and  a  host  of  friends 
and  priests  were  there — yet  the  inexorable  shears  had 
cut  through  all  these  threads  that  Monsignor  had  gath- 
ered into  his  hands.  To  Amory  it  was  a  haunting 
grief  to  see  him  lying  in  his  coffin,  with  dosed  hands 
upon  his  purple  vestments.  His  face  had  not  changed, 
and,  as  he  never  knew  he  was  dying,  it  showed  no  pain 
or  fear.  It  was  Amory's  dear  old  friend,  his  and  the 
others' — for  the  church  was  full  of  people  with  daft,  star- 
ing faces,  the  most  exalted  seeming  the  most  stricken. 

The  cardinal,  like  an  archangel  in  cope  and  mitre, 
sprinkled  the  holy  water;  the  organ  broke  into  sound; 
the  choir  began  to  sing  the  Requiem  Eternam. 

All  these  people  grieved  because  they  had  to  some 
extent  depended  upon  Monsignor.  Their  grief  was 
more  than  sentiment  for  the  "crack  in  his  voice  or  a 
certain  break  in  his  walk,"  as  Wells  put  it.  These 
people  had  leaned  on  Monsignor's  faith,  his  way  of 
finding  cheer,  of  making  religion  a  thing  of  lights  and 
shadows,  making  all  light  and  shadow  merely  aspects 
of  God.  People  felt  safe  when  he  was  near. 

Of  Amory's  attempted  sacrifice  had  been  born  merely 
the  full  realization  of  his  disillusion,  but  of  Monsignor's 
funeral  was  born  the  romantic  elf  who  was  to  enter  the 
labyrinth  with  him.  He  found  something  that  he 
wanted,  had  always  wanted  and  always  would  want — 
not  to  be  admired,  as  he  had  feared;  not  to  be  loved,  as 
he  had  made  himself  believe;  but  to  be  necessary  to 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     287 

people,  to  be  indispensable;  he  remembered  the  sense  of 
security  he  had  found  in  Burne. 

Life  opened  up  in  one  of  its  amazing  bursts  of  radiance 
and  Amory  suddenly  and  permanently  rejected  an  old 
epigram  that  had  been  playing  listlessly  in  his  mind: 
"Very  few  things  matter  and  nothing  matters  very 
much." 

On  the  contrary,  Amory  felt  an  immense  desire  to  give 
people  a  sense  of  security. 

THE  BIG  MAN  WITH  GOGGLES 

On  the  day  that  Amory  started  on  his  walk  to  Prince- 
ton the  sky  was  a  colorless  vault,  cool,  high  and  barren 
of  the  threat  of  rain.  It  was  a  gray  day,  that  least 
fleshly  of  all  weathers;  a  day  of  dreams  and  far  hopes 
and  clear  visions.  It  was  a  day  easily  associated  with 
those  abstract  truths  and  purities  that  dissolve  in  the 
sunshine  or  fade  out  in  mocking  laughter  by  the  light 
of  the  moon.  The  trees  and  clouds  were  carved  in 
classical  severity;  the  sounds  of  the  countryside  had 
harmonized  to  a  monotone,  metallic  as  a  trumpet, 
breathless  as  the  Grecian  urn. 

The  day  had  put  Amory  in  such  a  contemplative  mood 
that  he  caused  much  annoyance  to  several  motorists 
who  were  forced  to  slow  up  considerably  or  else  run  him 
down.  So  engrossed  in  his  thoughts  was  he  that  he  was 
scarcely  surprised  at  that  strange  phenomenon — cor- 
diality manifested  within  fifty  miles  of  Manhattan — 
when  a  passing  car  slowed  down  beside  him  and  a  voice 
hailed  him.  He  looked  up  and  saw  a  magnificent  Loco- 
mobile in  which  sat  two  middle-aged  men,  one  of  them 
small  and  anxious  looking,  apparently  an  artificial 
growth  on  the  other  who  was  large  and  begoggled  and 
imposing. 


288  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"Do  you  want  a  lift?"  asked  the  apparently  artificial 
growth,  glancing  from  the  corner  of  his  eye  at  the  im- 
posing man  as  if  for  some  habitual,  silent  corroboration. 

"You  bet  I  do.    Thanks." 

The  chauffeur  swung  open  the  door,  and,  climbing  in, 
Amory  settled  himself  in  the  middle  of  the  back  seat. 
He  took  in  his  companions  curiously.  The  chief  char- 
acteristic of  the  big  man  seemed  to  be  a  great  confidence 
in  himself  set  off  against  a  tremendous  boredom  with 
everything  around  him.  That  part  of  his  face  which 
protruded  under  the  goggles  was  what  is  generally 
termed  "strong";  rolls  of  not  undignified  fat  had  col- 
lected near  his  chin;  somewhere  above  was  a  wide  thin 
mouth  and  the  rough  model  for  a  Roman  nose,  and,  be- 
low, his  shoulders  collapsed  without  a  struggle  into  the 
powerful  bulk  of  his  chest  and  belly.  He  was  excellently 
and  quietly  dressed.  Amory  noticed  that  he  was  in- 
clined to  stare  straight  at  the  back  of  the  chauffeur's 
head  as  if  speculating  steadily  but  hopelessly  some  baf- 
fling hirsute  problem. 

The  smaller  man  was  remarkable  only  for  his  com- 
plete submersion  in  the  personality  of  the  other.  He 
was  of  that  lower  secretarial  type  who  at  forty  have 
engraved  upon  their  business  cards:  "Assistant  to  the 
President,"  and  without  a  sigh  consecrate  the  rest  of 
their  lives  to  second-hand  mannerisms. 

"Going  far?"  asked  the  smaller  man  in  a  pleasant 
disinterested  way. 

"Quite  a  stretch." 

"Hiking  for  exercise?" 

"No,"  responded  Amory  succinctly,  "I'm  walking  be- 
cause I  can't  afford  to  ride." 

"Oh." 

Then  again: 

"Are  you  looking  for  work?    Because  there's  lots  of 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     289 

work/'  he  continued  rather  testily.  "All  this  talk  of 
lack  of  work.  The  West  is  especially  short  of  labor." 
He  expressed  the  West  with  a  sweeping,  lateral  gesture. 
Amory  nodded  politely. 

"H^ve  you  a  trade?" 

No — Amory  had  no  trade. 

"Clerk,  eh?" 

No — Amory  was  not  a  clerk. 

"Whatever  your  line  is,"  said  the  little  man,  seeming 
to  agree  wisely  with  something  Amory  had  said,  "now 
is  the  time  of  opportunity  and  business  openings."  He 
glanced  again  toward  the  big  man,  as  a  lawyer  grilling 
a  witness  glances  involuntarily  at  the  jury. 

Amory  decided  that  he  must  say  something  and  for 
the  life  of  him  could  think  of  only  one  thing  to  say. 

"Of  course  I  want  a  great  lot  of  money " 

The  little  man  laughed  mirthlessly  but  conscientiously. 

"That's  what  every  one  wants  nowadays,  but  they 
don't  want  to  work  for  it." 

"A  very  natural,  healthy  desire.  Almost  all  normal 
people  want  to  be  rich  without  great  effort — except  the 
financiers  in  problem  plays,  who  want  to  'crash  their 
way  through.'  Don't  you  want  easy  money?" 

"Of  course  not,"  said  the  secretary  indignantly. 

"But,"  continued  Amory  disregarding  him,  "being 
very  poor  at  present  I  am  contemplating  socialism  as 
possibly  my  forte." 

Both  men  glanced  at  him  curiously. 

"These  bomb  throwers — "  The  little  man  ceased  as 
words  lurched  ponderously  from  the  big  man's  chest. 

"If  I  thought  you  were  a  bomb  thrower  I'd  run  you 
over  to  the  Newark  jail.  That's  what  I  think  of  Social- 
ists." 

Amory  laughed. 

"What  are  you,"  asked  the  big  man,  "one  of  these 


290  THIS   SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

parlor  Bolsheviks,  one  of  these  idealists?  I  must  say  I 
fail  to  see  the  difference.  The  idealists  loaf  around  and 
write  the  stuff  that  stirs  up  the  poor  immigrants." 

"Well,"  said  Amory,  "if  being  an  idealist  is  both  safe 
and  lucrative,  I  might  try  it." 

"What's  your  difficulty?    Lost  your  job?" 

"Not  exactly,  but— well,  call  it  that." 

"What  was  it?" 

"Writing  copy  for  an  advertising  agency." 

"Lots  of  money  in  advertising." 

Amory  smiled  discreetly. 

"Oh,  I'll  admit  there's  money  in  it  eventually.  Tal- 
ent doesn't  starve  any  more.  Even  art  gets  enough  to 
eat  these  days.  Artists  draw  your  magazine  covers, 
write  your  advertisements,  hash  out  rag-time  for  your 
theatres.  By  the  great  commercializing  of  printing 
you've  found  a  harmless,  polite  occupation  for  every 
genius  who  might  have  carved  his  own  niche.  But  be- 
ware the  artist  who's  an  intellectual  also.  The  artist 
who  doesn't  fit — the  Rousseau,  the  Tolstoi,  the  Samuel 
Butler,  the  Amory  Blaine " 

"Who's  he?"  demanded  the  little  man  suspiciously. 

"Well,"  said  Amory,  "he's  a — he's  an  intellectual 
personage  not  very  well  known  at  present." 

The  little  man  laughed  his  conscientious  laugh,  and 
stopped  rather  suddenly  as  Amory's  burning  eyes  turned 
on  him, 

"What  are  you  laughing  at?" 

"These  intellectual  people " 

"Do  you  know  what  it  means?" 

The  little  man's  eyes  twitched  nervously. 

"Why,  it  usually  means " 

"It  always  means  brainy  and  well-educated,"  inter- 
rupted Amory.  "It  means  having  an  active  knowledge 
of  the  race's  experience."  Amory  decided  to  be  very 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     291 

rude.  He  turned  to  the  big  man.  "The  young  man," 
he  indicated  the  secretary  with  his  thumb,  and  said 
young  man  as  one  says  bell-boy,  with  no  implication  of 
youth,  "has  the  usual  muddled  connotation  of  all 
popular  words." 

"You  object  to  the  fact  that  capital  controls  print- 
ing?" said  the  big  man,  fixing  him  with  his  goggles. 

"Yes — and  I  object  to  doing  their  mental  work  for 
them.  It  seemed  to  me  that  the  root  of  all  the  business 
I  saw  around  me  consisted  in  overworking  and  under- 
paying a  bunch  of  dubs  who  submitted  to  it." 

"Here  now,"  said  the  big  man,  "you'll  have  to  admit 
that  the  laboring  man  is  certainly  highly  paid — five  and 
six  hour  days— it's  ridiculous.  You  can't  buy  an  honest 
day's  work  from  a  man  in  the  trades-unions." 

"You've  brought  it  on  yourselves,"  insisted  Amory. 
"You  people  never  make  concessions  until  they're  wrung 
out  of  you." 

"What  people?" 

"Your  class;  the  class  I  belonged  to  until  recently; 
those  who  by  inheritance  or  industry  or  brains  or  dis- 
honesty have  become  the  moneyed  class." 

"Do  you  imagine  that  if  that  road-mender  over  there 
had  the  money  he'd  be  any  more  willing  to  give  it  up?" 

"'No,  but  what's  that  got  to  do  with  it?" 

The  older  man  considered. 

"No,  I'll  admit  it  hasn't.  It  rather  sounds  as  if  it 
had  though." 

"In  fact,"  continued  Amory,  "he'd  be  worse.  The 
lower  classes  are  narrower,  less  pleasant  and  personally 
more  selfish — certainly  more  stupid.  But  all  that  has 
nothing  to  do  with  the  question." 

"Just  exactly  what  is  the  question?" 

Here  Amory  had  to  pause  to  consider  exactly  what  the 
question  was. 


292  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

AMORY  COINS  A  PHRASE 

"When  life  gets  hold  of  a  brainy  man  of  fair  educa- 
tion," began  Amory  slowly,  "that  is,  when  he  marries 
he  becomes,  nine  times  out  of  ten,  a  conservative  as  far 
as  existing  social  conditions  are  concerned.  He  may  be 
unselfish,  kind-hearted,  even  just  in  his  own  way,  but 
his  first  job  is  to  provide  and  to  hold  fast.  His  wife 
shoos  him  on,  from  ten  thousand  a  year  to  twenty  thou- 
sand a  year,  on  and  on,  in  an  enclosed  treadmill  that 
hasn't  any  windows.  He's  done !  Life's  got  him !  He's 
no  help !  He's  a  spiritually  married  man." 

Amory  paused  and  decided  that  it  wasn't  such  a  bad 
phrase. 

"  Some  men,"  he  continued,  "  escape  the  grip.  Maybe 
their  wives  have  no  social  ambitions;  maybe  they've  hit 
a  sentence  or  two  in  a  'dangerous  book'  that  pleased 
them;  maybe  they  started  on  the  treadmill  as  I  did  and 
were  knocked  off.  Anyway,  they're  the  congressmen 
you  can't  bribe,  the  Presidents  who  aren't  politicians, 
the  writers,  speakers,  scientists,  statesmen  who  aren't 
just  popular  grab-bags  for  a  half-dozen  women  and 
children." 

"He's  the  natural  radical?" 

"Yes,"  said  Amory.  "He  may  vary  from  the  disil- 
lusioned critic  like  old  Thornton  Hancock,  all  the  way  to 
Trotsky.  Now  this  spiritually  unmarried  man  hasn't 
direct  power,  for  unfortunately  the  spiritually  married 
man,  as  a  by-product  of  his  money  chase,  has  garnered 
in  the  great  newspaper,  the  popular  magazine,  the  in- 
fluential weekly — so  that  Mrs.  Newspaper,  Mrs.  Maga- 
zine, Mrs.  Weekly  can  have  a  better  limousine  than  those 
oil  people  across  the  street  or  those  cement  people  'round 
the  corner." 

"Why  not?" 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     293 

"  It  makes  wealthy  men  the  keepers  of  the  world's  in- 
tellectual conscience  and,  of  course,  a  man  who  has  money 
under  one  set  of  social  institutions  quite  naturally  can't 
risk  his  family's  happiness  by  letting  the  clamor  for  an- 
other appear  in  his  newspaper." 

"But  it  appears,"  said  the  big  man. 

"Where? — in  the  discredited  mediums.  Rotten 
cheap-papered  weeklies." 

"All  right— go  on." 

"Well,  my  first  point  is  that  through  a  mixture  of 
conditions  of  which  the  family  is  the  first,  there  are  these 
two  sorts  of  brains.  One  sort  takes  human  nature  as  it 
finds  it,  uses  its  timidity,  its  weakness,  and  its  strength 
for  its  own  ends.  Opposed  is  the  man  who,  being 
spiritually  unmarried,  continually  seeks  for  new  sys- 
tems that  will  control  or  counteract  human  nature.  His 
problem  is  harder.  It  is  not  life  that's  complicated, 
it's  the  struggle  to  guide  and  control  life.  That  is  his 
struggle.  He  is  a  part  of  progress — the  spiritually 
married  man  is  not." 

The  big  man  produced  three  big  cigars,  and  proffered 
them  on  his  huge  palm.  The  little  man  took  one, 
Amory  shook  his  head  and  reached  for  a  cigarette. 

"Go  on  talking,"  said  the  big  man.  "I've  been  want- 
ing to  hear  one  of  you  fellows." 

GOING  FASTER 

"Modern  life,"  began  Amory  again,  "changes  no 
longer  century  by  century,  but  year  by  year,  ten  times 
faster  than  it  eveir  has  before — populations  doubling, 
civilizations  unified  more  closely  with  other  civilizations, 
economic  inter5lependence,  racial  questions,  and — we're 
dawdling  along.  My  idea  is  that  we've  got  to  go  very 
much  faster."  He  slightly  emphasized  the  last  words 


294  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

and  the  chauffeur  unconsciously  increased  the  speed  ol 
the  car.  Amory  and  the  big  man  laughed;  the  little 
man  laughed,  too,  after  a  pause. 

"Every  child,"  said  Amory,  "should  have  an  equal 
start.  If  his  father  can  endow  him  with  a  good  physique 
and  his  mother  with  some  common  sense  in  his  early 
education,  that  should  be  his  heritage.  If  the  father 
can't  give  him  a  good  physique,  if  the  mother  has  spent 
in  chasing  men  'the  years  in  which  she  should  have  been 
preparing  herself  to  educate  her  children,  so  much  the 
worse  for  the  child.  He  shouldn't  be  artificially  bol- 
stered up  with  money,  sent  to  these  horrible  tutoring 
schools,  dragged  through  college  .  .  .  Every  boy 
ought  to  have  an  equal  start." 

"All  right,"  said  the  big  man,  his  goggles  indicating 
neither  approval  nor  objection. 

"Next  I'd  have  a  fair  trial  of  government  ownership 
of  all  industries." 

"That's  been  proven  a  failure." 

"No — it  merely  failed.  If  we  had  government  owner- 
ship we'd  have  the  best  analytical  business  minds  in  the 
government  working  for  something  besides  themselves. 
We'd  have  Mackays  instead  of  Burlesons;  we'd  have 
Morgans  in  the  Treasury  Department;  we'd  have  Hills 
running  interstate  commerce.  We'd  have  the  best 
lawyers  in  the  Senate." 

"They  wouldn't  give  their  best  efforts  for  nothing. 
McAdoo " 

"No,"  said  Amory,  shaking  his  head.  "Money  isn't 
the  only  stimulous  that  brings  out  the  best  that's  in  a 
man,  even  in  America." 

"You  said  a  while  ago  that  it  was." 

"It  is,  right  now.  But  if  it  were  made  illegal  to  have 
more  than  a  certain  amount  the  best  men  would  all 
flock  for  the  one  other  reward  which  attracts  humanity 
— honor." 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     295 

The  big  man  made  a  sound  that  was  very  like  boo. 

"That's  the  silliest  thing  you've  said  yet" 

"No,  it  isn't  silly.  It's  quite  plausible.  If  you'd 
gone  to  college  you'd  have  been  struck  by  the  fact 
that  the  men  there  would  work  twice  as  hard  for  any 
one  of  a  hundred  petty  honors  as  those  other  men  did 
who  were  earning  their  way  through." 

"Kids — child's  play!"  scoffed  his  antagonist. 

"Not  by  a  darned  sight — unless  we're  all  children. 
Did  you  ever  see  a  grown  man  when  he's  trying  for  a 
secret  society — or  a  rising  family  whose  name  is  up  at 
some  club  ?  They'll  jump  when  they  hear  the  sound  of 
the  word.  The  idea  that  to  make  a  man  work  you've 
got  to  hold  gold  in  front  of  his  eyes  is  a  growth,  not  an 
axiom.  We've  done  that  for  so  long  that  we've  forgotten 
there's  any  other  way.  We've  made  a  world  where 
that's  necessary.  Let  me  tell  you" — Amory  became 
emphatic — "if  there  were  ten  men  insured  against  either 
wealth  or  starvation,  and  offered  a  green  ribbon  for  five 
hours'  work  a  day  and  a  blue  ribbon  for  ten  hours'  work 
a  day,  nine  out  of  ten  of  them  would  be  trying  for  the 
blue  ribbon.  That  competitive  instinct  only  wants  a 
badge.  If  the  size  of  their  house  is  the  badge  they'll 
sweat  their  heads  off  for  that.  If  it's  only  a  blue  ribbon, 
I  damn  near  believe  they'll  work  just  as  hard.  They 
have  in  other  ages." 

"I  don't  agree  with  you." 

"I  know  it,"  said  Amory  nodding  sadly.  "It  doesn't 
matter  any  more  though.  I  think  these  people  are  going 
to  come  and  take  what  they  want  pretty  soon." 

A  fierce  hiss  came  from  the  little  man. 

"Machine-guns!" 

"Ah,  but  you've  taught  them  their  use." 

The  big  man  shook  his  head. 

"In  this  country  there  are  enough  property  owners  not 
to  permit  that  sort  of  thing." 


296  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

Amory  wished  he  knew  the  statistics  of  property  own- 
ers and  non-property  owners;  he  decided  to  change  the 
subject. 

But  the  big  man  was  aroused. 

"When  you  talk  of  'taking  things  away/  you're  on 
dangerous  ground." 

"How  can  they  get  it  without  taking  it?  For  years 
people  have  been  stalled  off  with  promises.  Socialism 
may  not  be  progress,  but  the  threat  of  the  red  flag  is 
certainly  the  inspiring  force  of  all  reform.  You've  got 
to  be  sensational  to  get  attention." 

"Russia  is  your  example  of  a  beneficent  violence,  I 
suppose?" 

"Quite  possibly,"  admitted  Amory.  "Of  course,  it's 
overflowing  just  as  the  French  Revolution  did,  but  I've 
no  doubt  that  it's  really  a  great  experiment  and  well 
worth  while." 

"Don't  you  believe  in  moderation?" 

"You  won't  listen  to  the  moderates,  and  it's  almost 
too  late.  The  truth  is  that  the  public  has  done  one  of 
those  startling  and  amazing  things  that  they  do  about 
once  in  a  hundred  years.  They've  seized  an  idea." 

"What  is  it?" 

"That  however  the  brains  and  abilities  of  men  may 
differ,  their  stomachs  are  essentially  the  same." 

THE  LITTLE  MAN  GETS  His 

"If  you  took  all  the  money  in  the  world,"  said  the 
little  man  with  much  profundity,  "and  divided  it  up  in 
equ " 

"Oh,  shut  up!"  said  Amory  briskly  and,  paying  no 
attention  to  the  little  man's  enraged  stare,  he  went  on 
with  his  argument. 

"The  human  stomach — "  he  began;  but  the  big  man 
interrupted  rather  impatiently. 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     297 

"I'm  letting  you  talk,  you  know,"  he  said,  "but  please 
avoid  stomachs.  I've  been  feeling  mine  all  day.  Any- 
way, I  don't  agree  with  one-half  you've  said.  Govern- 
ment ownership  is  the  basis  of  your  whole  argument,  and 
it's  invariably  a  beehive  of  corruption.  Men  won't 
work  for  blue  ribbons,  that's  all  rot." 

When  he  ceased  the  little  man  spoke  up  with  a  deter- 
mined nod,  as  if  resolved  this  time  to  have  his  say  out. 

"There  are  certain  things  which  are  human  nature," 
he  asserted  with  an  owl-like  look,  "which  always  have 
been  and  always  will  be,  which  can't  be  changed." 

Amory  looked  from  the  small  man  to  the  big  man 
helplessly. 

"Listen  to  that!  That's  what  makes  me  discouraged 
with  progress.  Listen  to  that !  I  can  name  offhand  over 
one  hundred  natural  phenomena  that  have  been  changed 
by  the  will  of  man — a  hundred  instincts  in  man  that 
have  been  wiped  out  or  are  now  held  in  check  by  civiliza- 
tion. What  this  man  here  just  said  has  been  for  thou- 
sands of  years  the  last  refuge  of  the  associated  mutton- 
heads  of  the  world.  It  negates  the  efforts  of  every  scien- 
tist, statesman,  moralist,  reformer,  doctor,  and  philoso- 
pher that  ever  gave  his  life  to  humanity's  service.  It's 
a  flat  impeachment  of  all  that's  worth  while  in  human 
nature.  Every  person  over  twenty-five  years  old  who 
makes  that  statement  in  cold  blood  ought  to  be  deprived 
of  the  franchise." 

The  little  man  leaned  back  against  the  seat,  his  face 
purple  with  rage.  Amory  continued,  addressing  his  re- 
marks to  the  big  man. 

"These  quarter-educated,  stale-minded  men  such  as 
your  friend  here,  who  think  they  think;  every  question 
that  comes  up,  you'll  find  his  type  in  the  usual  ghastly 
muddle.  One  minute  it's  '  the  brutality  and  inhumanity 
of  these  Prussians' — the  next  it's  'we  ought  to  extermi- 
nate the  whole  German  people.'  They  always  believe 


298  THIS   SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

that  'things  are  in  a  bad  way  now,'  but  they  'haven't 
any  faith  in  these  idealists.'  One  minute  they  call 
Wilson  'just  a  dreamer,  not  practical' — a  year  later 
they  rail  at  him  for  making  his  dreams  realities.  They 
haven't  clear  logical  ideas  on  one  single  subject  except 
a  sturdy,  stolid  opposition  to  all  change.  They  don't 
think  uneducated  people  should  be  highly  paid,  but 
they  won't  see  that  if  they  don't  pay  the  uneducated 
people  their  children  are  going  to  be  uneducated  too, 
and  we're  going  round  and  round  in  a  circle.  That — is 
the  great  middle  class!" 

The  big  man  with  a  broad  grin  on  his  face  leaned  over 
and  smiled  at  the  little  man. 

"You're  catching  it  pretty  heavy,  Garvin;  how  do 
you  feel  ?  " 

The  little  man  made  an  attempt  to  smile  and  act  as  if 
the  whole  matter  were  so  ridiculous  as  to  be  beneath 
notice.  But  Amory  was  not  through. 

"The  theory  that  people  are  fit  to  govern  themselves 
rests  on  this  man.  If  he  can  be  educated  to  think 
clearly,  concisely,  and  logically,  freed  of  his  habit  of 
taking  refuge  in  platitudes  and  prejudices  and  senti- 
mentalisms,  then  I'm  a  militant  Socialist.  If  he  can't, 
then  I  don't  think  it  matters  much  what  happens  to 
man  or  his  systems,  now  or  hereafter." 

"I  am  both  interested  and  amused,"  said  the  big  man. 
"You  are  very  young." 

"Which  may  only  mean  that  I  have  neither  been  cor- 
rupted nor  made  timid  by  contemporary  experience.  I 
possess  the  most  valuable  experience,  the  experience  of 
the  race,  for  in  spite  of  going  to  college  I've  managed  to 
pick  up  a  good  education." 

"You  talk  glibly." 

"It's  not  all  rubbish,"  cried  Amory  passionately. 
"This  is  the  first  time  in  my  life  I've  argued  Socialism. 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     299 

It's  the  only  panacea  I  know.  I'm  restless.  My  whole 
generation  is  restless.  I'm  sick  of  a  system  where  the 
richest  man  gets  the  most  beautiful  girl  if  he  wants  her, 
where  the  artist  without  an  income  has  to  sell  his  talents 
to  a  button  manufacturer.  Even  if  I  had  no  talents  I'd 
not  be  content  to  work  ten  years,  condemned  either  to 
celibacy  or  a  furtive  indulgence,  to  give  some  man's  son 
an  automobile." 

"But,  if  you're  not  sure " 

"That  doesn't  matter,"  exclaimed  Amory.  "My 
position  couldn't  be  worse.  A  social  revolution  might 
land  me  on  top.  Of  course  I'm  selfish.  It  seems  to  me 
I've  been  a  fish  out  of  water  in  too  many  outworn  sys- 
tems. I  was  probably  one  of  the  two  dozen  men  in  my 
class  at  college  who  got  a  decent  education;  still  they'd 
let  any  well-tutored  flathead  play  football  and  /  was 
ineligible,  because  some  silly  old  men  thought  we  should 
all  profit  by  conic  sections.  I  loathed  the  army.  I 
loathed  business.  I'm  in  love  with  change  and  I've 
killed  my  conscience — — " 

"So  you'll  go  along  crying  that  we  must  go  faster." 

"That,  at  least,  is  true,"  Amory  insisted.  "Reform 
won't  catch  up  to  the  needs  of  civilization  unless  it's 
made  to.  A  laissez-faire  policy  is  like  spoiling  a  child 
by  saying  he'll  turn  out  all  right  in  the  end.  He  will — 
if  he's  made  to." 

"But  you  don't  believe  all  this  Socialist  patter  you 
talk." 

"  I  don't  know.  Until  I  talked  to  you  I  hadn't  thought 
seriously  about  it.  I  wasn't  sure  of  half  of  what  I  said." 

"You  puzzle  me,"  said  the  big  man,  "but  you're  all 
alike.  They  say  Bernard  Shaw,  in  spite  of  his  doctrines, 
is  the  most  exacting  of  all  dramatists  about  his  royal- 
ties. To  the  last  farthing." 

"Well,"  said  Amory,   "I  simply  state  that  I'm  a 


300  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

product  of  a  versatile  mind  in  a  restless  generation — with 
every  reason  to  throw  my  mind  and  pen  in  with  the 
radicals.  Even  if,  deep  in  my  heart,  I  thought  we  were 
all  blind  atoms  in  a  world  as  limited  as  a  stroke  of  a 
pendulum,  I  and  my  sort  would  struggle  against  tra- 
dition; try,  at  least,  to  displace  old  cants  with  new  ones. 
I've  thought  I  was  right  about  life  at  various  times, 
but  faith  is  difficult.  One  thing  I  know.  If  living  isn't 
a  seeking  for  the  grail  it  may  be  a  damned  amusing 
game/' 

For  a  minute  neither  spoke  and  then  the  big  man 
asked: 

"What  was  your  university?" 

"Princeton." 

.  The  big  man  became  suddenly  interested;  the  ex- 
pression of  his  goggles  altered  slightly. 

"I  sent  my  son  to  Princeton." 

"Did  you?" 

"Perhaps  you  knew  him.  His  name  was  Jesse  Fer- 
renby.  He  was  killed  last  year  in  France." 

"I  knew  him  very  well.  In  fact,  he  was  one  of  my 
particular  friends." 

"He  was — a — quite  a  fine  boy.    We  were  very  close." 

Amory  began  to  perceive  a  resemblance  between  the 
father  and  the  dead  son  and  he  told  himself  that  there 
had  been  all  along  a  sense  of  familiarity.  Jesse  Ferrenby, 
the  man  who  in  college  had  borne  off  the  crown  that  he 
had  aspired  to.  It  was  all  so  far  away.  What  little  boys 
they  had  been,  working  for  blue  ribbons — 

The  car  slowed  up  at  the  entrance  to  a  great  estate, 
ringed  around  by  a  huge  hedge  and  a  tall  iron  fence. 

"Won't  you  come  in  for  lunch?" 

Amory  shook  his  head. 

"Thank  you,  Mr.  Ferrenby,  but  I've  got  to  get  on." 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     301 

The  big  man  held  out  his  hand.  Amory  saw  that  the 
fact  that  he  had  known  Jesse  more  than  outweighed  any 
disfavor  he  had  created  by  his  opinions.  What  ghosts 
were  people  with  which  to  work !  Even  the  little  man 
insisted  on  shaking  hands. 

"  Good-by ! "  shouted  Mr.  Ferrenby,  as  the  car  turned 
the  corner  and  started  up  the  drive.  "  Good  luck  to  you 
and  bad  luck  to  your  theories." 

"Same  to  you,  sir/'  cried  Amory,  smiling  and  waving 
his  hand. 


Eight  hours  from  Princeton  Amory  sat  down  by  the 
Jersey  roadside  and  looked  at  the  frost-bitten  country. 
Nature  as  a  rather  coarse  phenomenon  composed  largely 
of  flowers  that,  when  closely  inspected,  appeared  moth- 
eaten,  and  of  ants  that  endlessly  traversed  blades  of 
grass,  was  always  disillusioning;  nature  represented  by 
skies  and  waters  and  far  horizons  was  more  likable. 
Frost  and  the  promise  of  winter  thrilled  him  now,  made 
him  think  of  a  wild  battle  between  St.  Regis  and  Gro- 
ton,  ages  ago,  seven  years  ago — and  of  an  autumn  day 
in  France  twelve  months  before  when  he  had  lain  in  tall 
grass,  his  platoon  flattened  down  close  around  him, 
waiting  to  tap  the  shoulders  of  a  Lewis  gunner.  He  saw 
the  two  pictures  together  with  somewhat  the  same  primi- 
tive exaltation — two  games  he  had  played,  differing  in 
quality  of  acerbity,  linked  in  a  way  that  differed  them 
from  Rosalind  or  the  subject  of  labyrinths  which  were, 
after  all,  the  business  of  life. 

"I  am  selfish,"  he  thought. 

"This  is  not  a  quality  that  will  change  when  I  'see 
human  suffering'  or  'lose  my  parents'  or  'help  others.' 


3o2  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

"This  selfishness  is  not  only  part  of  me.  It  is  the 
most  living  part. 

"It  is  by  somehow  transcending  rather  than  h'r  avoid- 
ing that  selfishness  that  I  can  bring  poise  and  balance 
into  my  life. 

"There  is  no  virtue  of  unselfishness  that  I  cannot  use. 
I  can  make  sacrifices,  be  charitable,  give  to  a  friend, 
endure  for  a  friend,  lay  down  my  life  for  a  friend — all 
because  these  things  may  be  the  best  possible  expres- 
sion of  myself;  yet  I  have  not  one  drop  of  the  milk  of 
human  kindness." 

The  problem  of  evil  had  solidified  for  Amory  into  the 
problem  of  sex.  He  was  beginning  to  identify  evil  with 
the  strong  phallic  worship  in  Brooke  and  the  early  Wells. 
Inseparably  linked  with  evil  was  beauty — beauty,  still 
a  constant  rising  tumult;  soft  in  Eleanor's  voice,  in  an 
old  song  at  night,  rioting  deliriously  through  life  like 
superimposed  waterfalls,  half  rhythm,  half  darkness. 
Amory  knew  that  every  time  he  had  reached  toward  it 
longingly  it  had  leered  out  at  him  with  the  grotesque 
face  of  evil.  Beauty  of  great  art,  beauty  of  all  joy,  most 
of  all  the  beauty  of  women. 

After  all,  it  had  too  many  associations  with  license 
and  indulgence.  Weak  things  were  often  beautiful,  weak 
things  were  never  good.  And  in  this  new  loneness  of 
his  that  had  been  selected  for  what  greatness  he  might 
achieve,  beauty  must  be  relative  or,  itself  a  harmony,  it 
would  make  only  a  discord. 

In  a  sense  this  gradual  renunciation  of  beauty  was  the 
second  step  after  his  disillusion  had  been  made  com- 
plete. He  felt  that  he  was  leaving  behind  him  his  chance 
of  being  a  certain  type  of  artist.  It  seemed  so  much 
more  important  to  be  a  certain  sort  of  man. 

His  mind  turned  a  corner  suddenly  and  he  found  him- 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     303 

self  thinking  of  the  Catholic  Church.  The  idea  was 
strong  in  him  that  there  was  a  certain  intrinsic  lack  in 
those  f/a  whom  orthodox  religion  was  necessary,  and 
religion  to  Amory  meant  the  Church  of  Rome.  Quite 
conceivably  it  was  an  empty  ritual  but  it  was  seemingly 
the  only  assimilative,  traditionary  bulwark  against  the 
decay  of  morals.  Until  the  great  mobs  could  be  edu- 
cated into  a  moral  sense  some  one  must  cry:  "Thou 
shalt  not!"  Yet  any  acceptance  was,  for  the  present, 
impossible.  He  wanted  time  and  the  absence  of  ulterior 
pressure.  He  wanted  to  keep  the  tree  without  orna- 
ments, realize  fully  the  direction  and  momentum  of  this 
new  start. 

The  afternoon  waned  from  the  purging  good  of  three 
o'clock  to  the  golden  beauty  of  four.  Afterward  he 
walked  through  the  dull  ache  of  a  setting  sun  when  even 
the  clouds  seemed  bleeding  and  at  twilight  he  came  to 
a  graveyard.  There  was  a  dusky,  dreamy  smell  of 
flowers  and  the  ghost  of  a  new  moon  in  the  sky  and 
shadows  everywhere.  On  an  impulse  he  considered 
trying  to  open  the  door  of  a  rusty  iron  vault  built  into 
the  side  of  a  hill;  a  vault  washed  clean  and  covered  with 
late-blooming,  weepy  watery-blue  flowers  that  might 
have  grown  from  dead  eyes,  sticky  to  the  touch  with  a 
sickening  odor. 

Amory  wanted  to  feel  "William  Dayfield,  1864." 
He  wondered  that  graves  ever  made  people  consider 
life  in  vain.  Somehow  he  could  find  nothing  hopeless 
in  having  lived.  All  the  broken  columns  and  clasped 
hands  and  doves  and  angels  meant  romances.  He 
fancied  that  in  a  hundred  years  he  would  like  having 
young  people  speculate  as  to  whether  his  eyes  were 
brown  or  blue,  and  he  hoped  quite  passionately  that  his 


304  THIS  SIDE  OF  PARADISE 

grave  would  have  about  it  an  air  of  many,  many  years 
ago.  It  seemed  strange  that  out  of  g,  row  of  Union  sol- 
diers two  or  three  made  him  think  of  dead  loves  and 
dead  lovers,  when  they  were  exactly  Eke  the  rest,  even 
to  the  yellowish  moss. 
i 

Long  after  midnight  the  towers  and  spires  of  Prince- 
ton were  visible,  with  here  and  there  a  late-burning 
light — and  suddenly  out  of  the  clear  darkness  the  sound 
of  bells.  As  an  endless  dream  it  went  on;  the  spirit  of 
the  past  brooding  over  a  new  generation,  the  chosen 
youth  from  the  muddled,  unchastened  world,  still  fed 
romantically  on  the  mistakes  and  half-forgotten  dreams 
of  dead  statesmen  and  poets.  Here  was  a  new  genera- 
tion, shouting  the  old  cries,  learning  the  old  creeds, 
through  a  revery  of  long  days  and  nights;  destined  finally 
to  go  out  into  that  dirty  gray  turmoil  to  follow  love  and 
pride;  a  new  generation  dedicated  more  than  the  last 
to  the  fear  of  poverty  and  the  worship  of  success; 
grown  up  to  find  all  Gods  dead,  all  wars  fought,  all 
faiths  in  man  shaken.  .  .  . 

Amory,  sorry  for  them,  was  still  not  sorry  for  him- 
self— art,  politics,  religion,  whatever  his  medium  should 
be,  he  knew  he  was  safe  now,  free  from  all  hysteria — 
he  could  accept  what  was  acceptable,  roam,  grow,  rebel, 
sleep  deep  through  many  nights.  .  .  . 

There  was  no  God  in  his  heart,  he  knew;  his  ideas  were 
still  in  riot;  there  was  ever  the  pain  of  memory;  the  re- 
gret for  his  lost  youth — yet  the  waters  of  disillusion  had 
left  a  deposit  on  his  soul,  responsibility  and  a  love  of 
life,  the  faint  stirring  of  old  ambitions  and  unrealized 
dreams.  But — oh,  Rosalind !  Rosalind !  ,N .  . 

"It's  all  a  poor  substitute  at  best,"  he  said  sadly. 

And  he  could  not  tell  why  the  struggle  was  worth 


THE  EGOTIST  BECOMES  A  PERSONAGE     305 

while,  why  he  had  determined  to  use  to  the  utmost 
himself  and  his  heritage  from  the  personalities  he  had 
passed.  .  .  . 

He  stretched  out  his  arms  to  the  crystalline,  radiant 
sky. 

"I  know  myself,"  he  cried,  "but  that  is  all."